Dear Zoo has been a favourite in this house for a few years now. My son had the classic hardback version of the book, with its simple story and flaps to lift which we always enjoyed reading together. My daughter was given the Dear Zoo Noisy Book last year and this is now a firm favourite for story time. She does tend to go through phases of preferring a certain book and this is one that has been the book of the moment several times now.
*The Classic Story*
In case you are unfamiliar with this modern classic for toddlers, Rod Campbell's book tells a very simple tale. A child (non gender specific - always a positive thing in my opinion!) writes to the zoo asking them to send them a pet. The first box that comes back is an enormous red crate - on lifting the flap, you discover that the zoo has sent an elephant. Of course, an elephant is 'too big' so they send it back. The story continues in the same vein with a succession of animal containers arriving, each containing a different animal. There is the giraffe ('too tall'), the lion ('too fierce'), the camel ('too grumpy'), the monkey ('too naughty') to name just a few. Eventually, the zoo gets it right and sends a puppy which is 'perfect'. The simple language of the book, the brightly coloured animal pictures and the flaps make this story instantly appealing to it's toddler target market. There is everything that my two year old likes in a book - an element of predictably in the consistent pattern of the language, an element of suprise when lifting the flaps (although by the 100th reading I'm not convinced that even a toddler is suprised at what they find behind the flaps) and a happy ending.
*The Noisy Additions*
What distinguishes this version of Dear Zoo from the other versions is the addition of an sound pad on the right hand side of the book. This sound pad is the same height as the book and features pictures of each animal with a speaker at the bottom. As you read the story, your child can find the animal picture, press it and it will make the noise of the animal. Great for adding another interactive feature and for encouraging the recognition of animal noises, not so great when you are reading the story and listening to the sound effects for the 10th time in one morning. The noises themselves are pretty good in my opinion - the elephant trumpets, the giraffe munches leaves, the lion roars, the camel grumbles, the monkey chatters. I find it entertaining to encourage my daughter to imitate the noises as we go along - she does a fantastic lion roar and monkey noise, her camel grumble requires a bit more work. In addition to the noise panel, this book also has a question section at the back with questions like 'which animal came in this crate' or 'what noise does this animal make?' - very simple, but again good for making the book into a bit more of a learning experience for the slightly older toddler.
Dear Zoo Noisy Book has an RRP of £12.99, which I think is a bit expensive, but is currently available for a slightly more reasonable £9.09 on Amazon.
*Would I Recommend It?*
Yes, I would definitely recommend this book. As previously mentioned, the original Dear Zoo is one of the enduring favourites in this house and the noisy version does genuinely seem to enhance the reading experience for my two year old. I do feel that Dear Zoo is a lovely book in its own right and doesn't 'need' the added sound effects, but anything that encourages children to sit down and enjoy books is never going to be a negative in my house. I also feel that it is the kind of book that makes a good gift - the story is appealing, the language is simple and the sound pad is entertaining. It is also ideal for young readers with its large clear text and repetitive language, although my son knows the book so well that he doesn't actually need to look at the words. The only minor niggle is that because toddlers are so fond of repetition, you do end up listening to the animal noises over and over and over again, but to be honest, it is a perfect book to sit down with, cuddle up and enjoy together.
"This wonderful play-along sound book brings the classic story of Dear Zoo to noisy life. Lift the flaps and press the sound button to see what the zoo has sent: the perfect pet - in the end!"
This is the synopsis of from the back of the book from this wonderful Rod Campbell story. Rod campbell is the author of the very popular Spot books and this book has similar characters and fun. The book is a hard back and on the right hand side has 8 pictures of animals that make a sound when you press them. We've had this book for about a year now and all the animal sounds are still working perfectly. The sounds are loud and very lifelike too and I think it's good for kids to associate sounds with pictures when they are learning about animals.
The story is wonderful and simple but very effective. There are eight animals that we meet along the way and each time the story starts out, "I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet. They sent me a..." Then on the opposite page if we lift up the flap we see the animal and at the bottom of the page it tells you to press the button to hear the animal. My little boy loves flap books and just like in the Spot books there are various different flaps to open such a doors, baskets, crates etc. the flaps are fairly sturdy although our lion flap did get pulled off by an over excited little boy!!
Each time the zoo sends the narrator an animal but they always have to send it back because something is wrong with it, such as the lion being too fierce and the snake being too scary. The animals in question are a lion, snake, frog, camel, monkey, elephant, giraffe and in the end the animal that the narrator decided to keep is a lovely cute dog!
The book is available from Macmillan and costs £12.99.
This book is my 20 month old son's absolute favourite. In fact, it has been now for many months so, whilst I would say this is a lovely book for toddlers, it is also great for babies too. The book is actually quite well known (and I hear a lot of children like it) but it is one that I was unfamiliar with until I started looking for books for my son. I purchased this from Amazon, where it is currently priced at £7.79 (a pretty decent price for this book). It is also available cheaper in the non-noisy version.
The story itself is really simple and easy to read, with just one sentence on most pages. The book is read as a double page, so the text is on the left hand side and the picture on the page opposite. The story starts with 'I wrote to the Zoo to send me a pet' and the zoo proceeds to send all manner of animals. The illustrations are lovely and feature a box/crate etc which acts as a flap that the child can lift to reveal the animal sent. There are 8 push buttons along the right side of the book that can be pressed to make the noise of the relevant animal. Under each animal, there is further text explaining that the animal was sent back and the reason why (eg the snake is too scary).
The story is lovely and the repetition of it really helps my son to understand and learn language. The big bold text is also great for him to understand how books work, he now points at the text to indicate that he wants me to read the story. The pages are paper rather than board so I was nervous at letting him turn the pages when he was 10 months (when he first had the book) but they actually seem pretty resiliant and we haven't suffered and rips yet. The flaps are also quite sturdy - again these are a light cardboard but they do stand up to quite a lot of pulling. We have had one rip off but this was easily mended with sellotape and didn't cause any damage to the page itself.
The noise buttons are quite hard to press and do take quite a lot of pushing at first - this was quite frustrating to my son when he was younger but he loves pressing these himself now. What I really love about this book is that, whilst it is a fun story, it also has great learning benefits. My son learnt his animals from this book and asking him to press the relevant button was initially a nice challenge for him. He also learnt what noises some animals make. I love the interaction of this book and my son clearly does too. It is a story that he never tires of and, thankfully for me, it is quite a short story so reading it 5 or 6 times a day together isn't too demanding. It is always one of the first books he selects from the shelf and I think it will remain a firm favourite for a while to come yet! Very much great value for money for us! Highly recommended.
The book has 8 animal sounds and the buttons are easy to press. The sounds include Lion, Frog, snake, puppy, monkey, elephant, giraffe and camel all the sounds are good quality and realistic.
The illustration is very simple but still very good. the book starts with 'I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet the send me an.... and the page opposite will have a 'lift the flap' and an animal underneath. As you progress through the book there is a problem with each animal e.g. too big too fierce etc until the last page when they send the perfect animal.
The pages are quite blank except for some text on and a small illustration so I would say this is defiantly more suited to younger children.
This is a lovely book and good fun for little ones, however we did make the mistake of giving this to our daughter when she was a little too young and as a result she managed to pull some of the flaps off as they are only lightly stuck down and not very heavy duty.
I have read to my daughter since she was born and one of the first books I bought her was 'Dear Zoo' I had this book myself as a child and I clearly remember how excited I was when my nan would read it to me. We had the cardboard version of this book which my daughter loves and we have read it hundreds of times while I was browsing in Tesco I saw this for £8, I was more excited than my daughter I think! so I bought it as an early birthday present.
The book itself is rather large, my daughter has no problems holding it herself but it is a lot bigger than the cardboard version. The book is described as a 'noisy book' as it has buttons down the side corresponding with each animal inside the book. The pages of the book are made from a thick glossy cardboard and the flaps which are also thick cardboard are stuck down firmly. The batteries are included in the book but if you need to replace them they are the cell batteries LR44 and it needs 3 of them.
The story is about writing to the zoo to find the perfect pet. Each time the zoo sends a different animal, your child can see what animal is sent by lifting up the flaps on the book. The story ends when the zoo sends the perfect pet which is a little puppy. At the bottom of each page is a little picture which corresponds with a button on the right hand side of the book. When this button is pressed you hear the noise of the animal. The buttons aren't arranged in order so it encourages your child to look for the animal so that they can hear the noise. The noises are really good, I particularly like the giraffe.
My daughter has just turned one so she likes it when I help her read book, the buttons are easy to press and she can easily do this herself, she is a little too young to match the animal yet. Her favourite noise is the lion, she has been able to make a lion noise herself for a long time and finds it amusing when the lion roars. The flaps of the book are easy for her to open and she can also turn the pages herself. There is also a section at the back of the book where it asks your child to remember what animal was in a certain box.
I would recommend this book it is great fun and much more interactive than the original book. This book never fails to bring a smile to my daughters face and it is a book that we can continue to enjoy for many years to come.