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More reviews: 'The Zoo' (U.S.A.)

The New York Times

Written and illustrated by Suzy Lee. Kane/Miller. $15.95. (Ages 3 to 7)

In colorful mixed media collage, Lee (who was born in Seoul but now lives in Houston) presents a fanciful visit to a psychedelic zoo where a monkey perches on a smiling hippo and a peacock sports a tail of vivid purple pastel. Unfortunately Mom and Dad are thrown into a panic when their young daughter, in pink cape and boots, wanders after the peacock, imagining herself playing with a bear in a flamingo pool. Clearly it’s all in the eye of the beholder. At the end, the girl’s “I love the zoo. It’s very exciting” is comically set against Mom and Dad looking chalk-white with fatigue. Lee’s view of the parents is almost depressing — when they’re not panicking, they look bored literally to death — but the gorgeous menagerie that bursts out at the end restores the child’s-eye point of view.
(Sunday Book Review 'Bookshelf' by JULIE JUST, Published: April 15, 2007)

Publisher's Weekly

Suzy Lee. Kane/Miller, $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-933605-28-9

This story of a girl who gets lost at the zoo draws its energy from a collection of contrasts. The text, told in the girl's voice, is deadpan; the pencil illustrations provide the punch lines. The girl's parents' world appears as a tinted blue-gray; her world comes alive in full color. The hard edges of the zoo's tiled walls and wire cages give the book a crisp, architectural look; newcomer Lee draws with a bold, free line of pastel. "I went to the zoo with my mom and dad," the girl says; she follows a peacock, who leads her literally off the page to play with the zoo's animals (they've escaped from their cages). A few pages later, her parents realize in alarm that their daughter is gone. On the next spread, she cavorts with elephants in a shallow pool rendered in ecstatic strokes of every hue; collage elements add dimension and texture. The parents call out for her in front of the huge gray grid of an empty aviary, as she flies through the trees with a flock of exotic birds. At last her parents find her napping on a bench. "I love the zoo. It's very exciting," she announces, as her exhausted parents carry her home. Each page and picture, from the front cover to the back, takes the story a step further. It's up to young readers to decide if the young heroine has had a wild adventure or a wonderful dream. Ages 2-7. (Mar.)

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