Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary, Intermediate
Author: Kathleen Krull
Illustrator: Marcellus Hall
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Where did zoos come from? This book takes you on a journey through history, from the first zoo 4400 years ago in present-day Iraq, to zoos all around the world that expanded throughout the last several centuries until just recently. Little snippets of zoo history are presented with the year and place of the event as well as illustrations.
This book would best be utilized in the classroom, for example to prep children for an upcoming zoo trip or to assist in a book report about zoos (several sources are listed in the back of the book). Teachers or parents may need to pick and choose individual sections to read, since the book is a bit text-heavy and long and therefore children might lose attention while listening. Illustrations are rather cartoonish, which is entertaining on one hand, but on the other hand, they seem out of sync with the informational nature of the book. Also, the book lacks commentary on controversies surrounding animal treatment, which seems like it would be a major theme of zoo history and could be a useful tool to broaden children’s thinking. That being said, the text does present a wide range of interesting and entertaining stories about the history of zoos and is a great reference for educational settings.