Dear Zoo (Noisy Book) by Rod Campbell

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Dear Zoo (Noisy Book) by Rod Campbell

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: Lift-the-flaps and press the 8 interactive sound buttons to see what the zoo has sent: the perfect pet -- in the end! This amazing, interactive play-along edition of Dear Zoo brings the classic story to noisy life: hear the lion roar and the monkey chatter!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 24 Date: October 2011
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0230757653

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There is something slightly unsettling about the notion of a noisy book; the very idea that you can make a racket with something intended as a quiet pastime is a tiny bit of an oxymoron for me. But not, of course, for your average toddler (let's assume that we are disregarding the din they are able to make just by banging a fair sized hardback such as this, on the table!) And I've never met a child who did not like a book with interactive buttons and flaps – never.

So we are scoring highly already on two counts, and better still, Dear Zoo is by Rod Campbell, who has been doing his day job for about thirty years now and in releasing this latest version of his already supremely popular non-noisy version (obviously also entitled Dear Zoo) he's just hit one out of the park.

Delightfully, Dear Zoo is a series of letters from a child who would very much like a pet. It is a very obliging local zoo indeed that willingly parcels up a giraffe (among many other creatures) and posts them off, irrespective of their suitability for your average British household. And so you see, this is where the flaps (what have the Zoo sent this time?) come in and also the point at which we locate the button for the corresponding animal picture with representative animal noise on the sound bar on the right hand side of the book.

It's not rocket science, which is a relief because having to explain takes the fun out of it. As a book for the over ones it totally rocks and I hesitate to put an upper age limit on it. Suffice to say that my 4 year old daughter adored it, her friend, who is 9 was fascinated and my 46 year old husband couldn't resist a push on the monkey button - more than once - but perhaps the less we say about that, the better?

In summary, Dear Zoo is a bit more than the noisy book it humbly claims to be. We have plenty of push button books in our house; some are obviously better than others, some leave you wondering exactly who came up with the idea that a particular sound represents a particular animal/event/picture when it really doesn't (we have one that is supposed to be a lamb bleating, but it really sounds more like a bluebottle under a glass) and then there's Dear Zoo.

At a read time of approximately 4 to 5 minutes (depending really on how long you spend at the back of the book, which provides really rather excellent exercises in memory that are cleverly disguised as games to play with the animal pictures and sounds), it would make a great bed-time read if it were not quite so stimulating. The sounds produce slightly more brain activity than the parent of a sleepy pre-schooler would prefer. But that's really the only downside I can think of and the only reason I have deducted half a star, because at almost every other hour of the day (I preclude 5am from that statement) it's splendid fun and not long enough to become boring.

For further reading, maybe a book with an accompanying CD would be fun, in which case please take a look at The Noisiest Night by Thomas Taylor or perhaps the joyfully interactive, but thankfully silent Bedtime (Slip-and-Slide Books) by Maureen Roffey which actually is a bedtime read but incorporates gentle interaction with your little one, without making him or her laugh riotously at the monkey button!

Lastly, we at Bookbag would like to extend our thanks to the kind people at Macmillan Children's Books for sending us this copy to review.

Buy Dear Zoo (Noisy Book) by Rod Campbell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dear Zoo (Noisy Book) by Rod Campbell at

Buy Dear Zoo (Noisy Book) by Rod Campbell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dear Zoo (Noisy Book) by Rod Campbell at


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