Great Illustrated Books


By Matthew Van Fleet

Harcourt Children, 2003
Pages : 20
Suggested Ages: 1-6
ISBN: 0152167730

This rhyming, interactive, lift-the-flap, elongated board book introduces the Goodnight, Moon and Dear Zoo set to dozens of smiling animal parents and their little ones, all proudly displaying their singular tails. "Tails furry," it begins, and indeed, the tail of the tiger cub is rendered in black and orange striped fur for little fingers to stroke. "Tails spiny," the verse continues, and you'll note that the tiger is gingerly pawing the spiky spines of a porcupine. On the facing page struts a family of peacocks; the male's raised tail is long and green. "Tails rainbow-hued and-" Quick, lift the sturdy flap for the rhyming word "shiny." Oh, my! The peacock's tail is now fully open, with circles of crinkly blue shiny "eyes."

The next page contains a family gathering of raccoons, chipmunks, and foxes: "Tails stand up, Tails drag, Tails frisky-wag, wag, wag!" The happy gimmick on this page is the sturdy pull-tab that makes the foxes' tails wag to the left and right. There will be squealing by this point. Rendered in cartoon-like pen and ink and watercolors, the animals spill and tumble across each white page. Other families represented include familiar animals like panda, alligators, and pigs, and ones you might not even know, such as pangolins, weasels, and tamarins. Children will have a grand time lifting flaps, pulling tabs, stroking the bumpy green tails of the daddy croc, and even scratch-and-sniffing the skunk's tail. The final display of the ten animals, arrayed across the page, reveals one last game to play. Each animal is labeled by name and a number. Now go back and reread the story to locate and count 1 skunk, 2 tigers, 3 foxes, and all the way up to 10 pigs. Your kids will be checking out the tails of all the animals they encounter from now on. And so will you.

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If you love this book, then try:

Brown, Margaret Wise. Goodnight, Moon. HarperCollins, 1947.

Campbell, Rod. Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book. Little Simon, 2007, c1982.

Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Philomel, 2007, c1969.

Collard, Sneed B., III. Animal Dads. Houghton Mifflin, 1997.

Ehlert, Lois. Color Zoo. Harcourt.

Hill, Eric. Where's Spot. (25th anniversary edition) Putnam, 2005.

Jenkins, Steve. Big and Little. Houghton Mifflin, 1996.

Jenkins, Steve, and Robin Page. What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? Houghton Mifflin, 2003.

Kunhardt, Dorothy. Pat the Bunny. Golden Books, 2001.

Martin, Bill Jr. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Henry Holt, 2007, c1967.

Rathmann, Peggy. Good Night, Gorilla. Putnam, 1994.

Van Fleet, Matthew. Cat. Simon & Schuster, 2009.

Van Fleet, Matthew. Dog. Simon & Schuster, 2007.

Critics have said

Youngsters will hardly realize how much they're learning in this entertaining and eye-catching caper.
Publisher Weekly