Reviews for Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Fall
An omniscient narrator admonishes a tearful little girl against shouting in the zoo, explaining that she might scare a bear, who might startle a moose, etc. The text can't seem to decide if it wants to rhyme or not, but the illustrations are comical and preschoolers will derive giddy pleasure from being safely on the other side of the hypothetical mayhem. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2004 March #1
Oddly misguided work from a usually reliable illustrator sinks this cautionary monologue, written in animated rhymed prose, about the perils of startling wild animals. "Never, EVER shout in a zoo . . . because if you do . . . anything might happen. And don't say I didn't warn you," Wilson starts out-but the small wail a child emits after dropping her ice cream cone excites disproportionately wild flight from a grizzly bear and a moose, both of whom are described, but not depicted, as having bad attitudes. Then gorillas join in by hopping over the conveniently low wall that is their only restraint, freeing all the other animals, and locking up the zoo's four human visitors in a cage that proceeds as if by magic to melt away to set the stage for a contrived final joke. Young viewers might enjoy seeing zoo animals running about and laughing in triumph, but the art and text are too insecurely connected to make any sort of whole. (Picture book. 5-7) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 March #5
Don't even think about ignoring the title admonition, warns the unseen narrator in Wilson's (Bear Snores On) humorous cautionary tale, "because if you do... anything might happen." To underscore the message, the author adds what becomes a refrain: "Don't say I didn't warn you." Sure enough, when a scoop of ice cream falls off a young visitor's cone and she wails in despair, she not only triggers an ever-growing stampede of animals, but also ends up being locked in a cage by a wily gorilla. Wilson works hard to build a sense of mounting comic doom with repetition and alliteration: "And if the moose escapes, he might trot by the apes! All... those... apes. All those clever apes. All those clever, conniving apes that love to play practical jokes!" But author and artist rein themselves in, stopping short of conjuring an entirely manic mood. Cushman's (the Aunt Eater mysteries) marauding animals, while skillfully rendered in watercolor and pencil, are just a bit too tame and small in scale to represent a tongue-in-cheek collapse of the social order. Still, his redheaded, on-the-run heroine has a repertoire of alarmed expressions worthy of a silent movie heroine, and he makes good use of the book's horizontal format-keeping all the action on the same plane to emphasize the ever-growing chase. Ages 3-6. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 May
PreS-Gr 1-In this engaging read-aloud, a little girl stumbles, drops her ice-cream cone, and gives a frustrated cry, despite the narrator's warning to "Never, EVER shout in a zoo-/because if you do-/anything might happen." Before long, the hapless heroine is being pursued by a scary bear, a moose on the loose, escaped apes, and an ever-growing menagerie of other animals. Released from tanks and cages, the creatures exact their revenge and gleefully surround the child, locking her (and some other humans) in a pen. The last page shows the girl, who is now standing next to an exhibit of a frozen dinosaur, stifling another shout. Observers are drawn into events on the first page, where the watercolor-and-pencil illustrations simply but effectively introduce the locale and then quickly propel the action forward. Presented against broad white backgrounds, the expressive animals project a benign ferocity tempered by baffled amusement. The bouncy text makes use of alliteration, repetition, and rhyming phrases as the narrator speaks directly to the bumptious child ("Uh-oh! Don't say I didn't warn you"). This lighthearted romp disguises a slightly scary concept, as captive creatures successfully break their bonds in an otherwise familiar and "safe" setting, but the mischievous tone and predictable developments mitigate the fear factor. Pair this with Shirley Neitzel's Our Class Took a Trip to the Zoo (Greenwillow, 2002) for a silly armchair adventure.-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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