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Friday, April 3, 2015

Wild About Us! Written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by Janet Stevens. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Thomas Allen & Son. 2015. $21.99 ages 4 and up

"Elephant's confident
nothing is wrong.
He knows that his nose
is supposed to be long.

No one laughs at Giraffe
'cause she's lanky
and tall.
Here at the zoo
there is room for us all."

You know how much kids love the zoo! In this new rhyming story from Karen Beaumont, we get to meet a group of zoo denizens who are perfectly happy to be themselves ... warts, wrinkles, and all.

It is a real celebration of acceptance, and is sure to make you smile. I love it when Warty Warthog announces: : “Can’t be who I’m not. / I am who I am, / and I’ve got what I’ve got.”
And he likes it! Would that we could all feel so free to be happy with who we are. It's a great message, and shines a light on how our differences should never be shameful. As well as Warty, you will meet Crocodile, Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Flamingo, Potbellied Pig, Tortoise, Porcupine, Leopard, Hippo, Chimp and Kangaroo. Each is blessed to be something special, and to take pride in it.

"We're glad we're all different!
It would be such a shame
if you came to the zoo ...
and we all looked the same!"

 Janet Stevens uses white space with flair to bring our attention to these animals who are so proud of their differences. She is incredibly adept at presenting each with expressions that will have young readers sitting up to take notice, and loving them from the get-go. The book's design is perfect, always changing our perspective. She has hidden a fly on each of the animals, so be on the lookout for it.

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