The Zoo Box, by Ariel Cohn and Aron Nels Steinke

Review copy provided by First Second.

One of the hard parts about picking out picture books from a catalog or online is that some of the crucial information is how the text will read, and that’s very difficult to tell from the illustrations. Some books with clearly cute or gorgeous illustrations have stilted text that sounds like it was written by someone who hasn’t yet been taught how contractions work.

This is one of those.

The premise is also not really enough for the size of book they’ve got. It’s a box of animals in the attic! The animals get out and go to their own zoo where humans are on display! They chase the kids and jump back in their box for no reason! So…okay then, I guess!

Most kids–and most childless people who have kids’ books around–have books like this in their collection, if they have a big enough book collection. This is not an outstandingly terrible example. It’s not offensive. It’s just sort of a low-budget Jumanji with less plot, less purpose, and far worse illustrations. Might as well go for Jumanji if you want a one of those.

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