Bruno Munari’s Zoo by Bruno Munari

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Zoo is a book of observations and illustrations. Somewhere between poetry and prose, the quick words read like a zoo go-er’s jotted notes as he/she passes through some of the more popular exhibits. Originally published in 1963, this book is great for a variety of ages, offering a little something for everybody.

As one might reasonably expect from a graphic designer turned children’s illustrator, the pictures in this book are lovely and unique. Bright colors, bold outlines, and a simple eye to detail (can you find all the butterflies?) make them both visually interesting and inviting. And I don’t know when I’ve ever called illustrations ‘inviting’ before.

Words will also be the most important part of a story to me, though, and that’s why Zoo only gets 4 bees from me. The phrases are mostly staccato, almost haiku-like in some places. Some are fun, like the rhinos going to war, and some are beautiful, like the flamingos playing at symmetry, but for the most part, the language is a bit stilted, and it can take a few reads to find your own groove. For that reason, I think I’ll like it better for Kiddo when she’s a bit older.

That said, this is currently Kiddo’s favorite book. Read on for why my almost-two-year-old is obsessed.

I love this book because of the animals. I know all these animals. I know what they look like, I know the sounds they make, and these pictures are the perfect blend of realistic and cartoon to captivate me. I know that when Mom reads this, there aren’t a lot of words, so when I read it to myself, I love to make up my own. I could (and do) go on and on and on…


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