Tis the ultimate interactive story for the young 'uns. An unseen narrator (who we assume must be a child of some sort) narrates a tale of unprecedented zooish generosity. After asking the zoo for a pet, a series of animals are sent in the hope that the child will want them. Unfortunately (and as the book makes clear) many of animals one finds at the zoo are inappropriate pets. Each animal that arrives is hidden beneath a flap. When you lift the flap the children to whom you are reading this tale are supposed to delightedly cry out the name of that particular animal. In this way, you can teach kids the kinds of animals that live at the zoo. For the narrator, though, elephants are too big, lions too fierce, monkeys to naughty, and frogs too jumpy. In the end, the narrator receives a small hamper with the note, "From all your friends at the zoo" containing the perfect pet.
As an early book, this story and its accompanying illustrations are very very simple. I was a little disappointed at the flimsiness of the flaps children are supposed to lift or turn. The copy I paged through had been scotch taped and re-scotch taped several times to keep the book in any kind of semblance of order. It is also a pity that the animals in this book aren't named ever. I don't doubt that kids will, mostly, be able to name them anyway, but it's nice to learn to read the names along with the pictures of the animals. Still, the book is satisfying to read. No subtext here. Nuh-uh. Just a very basic story about a zoo, some friendly animals, and the reasons (or lack there of) of keeping them. For another interesting and enjoyable zoo book, try "Good Night, Gorilla" by Peggy Rathmann (a personal pet favorite of mine).