The Zoo Box, by Ariel Cohn/illus. by Aron Nels Steinke. :01 First Second (2014), $17.99, ISBN: 9781626720527
Recommended for ages 6-10
When Patrick and Erika’s parents go out and leave them home alone, they discover a hidden box marked “DO NOT OPEN”. When they (naturally) open it, they unleash a magical zoo’s worth of animals, and follow them into a very different kind of zoo – but what happens when the animals figure out that the siblings are human? Get ready for an adventure!
In short, :01 First Second does it again – if I see their imprint on a book, I know I am in for a good read.
This book is adorable. Ariel Cohn constructs a sweet story with siblings who actually enjoy one another’s company and play together; they have an exciting adventure together, and they stick together through thick and thin. There’s no conflict! As a mother of 3 boys, I appreciate this so very much. Aron Nils Steinke provides wonderful, cartoon art with splashes of color and movement. I’ve enjoyed Mr. Steinke’s work in the past, including his webcomic, Mr. Wolf, that follows the misadventures of a wolf schoolteacher. It’s good for the same age group as The Zoo Box.
The Zoo Box is a 52-page book, making it a nice-sized read for younger audiences. The art is sequential in its pacing, allowing the youngest readers to learn about sequence. Talking about what could happen next would be great to marry the concept of sequence here; children can brainstorm, and then see right in front of them, how the scenarios play out. There’s humor, there are animals, and most importantly, there’s excitement and interest. The Zoo Box doesn’t hit shelves until September 2, but I can’t wait to see this on the shelves both in my home and my library. I may even have to build a program using this book for my elementary school-age patrons.