Recommended for ages 2-6
Where are my fellow ’80s children at? Kenny Loggins, who basically soundtracked the ’80s, has given new life to Footloose – a song that I will still unabashedly jump off and dance to whenever I hear it (usually to my eldest teen’s mortal terror) – for the little ones! He was inspired to rewrite the song into a fun story for his grandchildren; what we get is a fun rhyming story about what goes down after a zoo closes to the public for the evening.
First things first: Yes, I absolutely did find a karoake version of Footloose on YouTube and played it while I sang this book. In the privacy of my bedroom, sure, but I did it and it was fabulous! The song and story line up nicely, and if that’s your kind of thing, and you have an audience that may be receptive to it, print out a set of the lyrics for the parents and go for it.
This is a fun story for kids about party animals getting down after dark, with Zookeeper Big Jack witness to the whole business. There’s rhyming, there are great illustrations of animals swinging from trees, dancing a tango, and turning it loose – Footloose!
For me, this is a no-brainer add to my shelves – my storytimes include a lot of movement, my little ones love animal books, and I can easily read this, Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe, Lindsay Craig’s Dancing Feet, and Sandra Boynton’s Barnyard Dance to get the kids up, moving, and laughing. If you have animal picture book fans, it’s a great addition to your collections. If you like to sing and dance with your little ones, be it in your own living room or the storytime area in your library, add this one. And if you want that karaoke link, here’s the backing track (just the music), and here’s one with the lyrics, in case you want to track how your reading goes compared to the pace of the song.