ZOO SEE ME!
Written by Chris Distler
Illustrated by Timothy Williams
Published by Chris Distler 10/15/2019
40 Pages Ages 4—8
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Fiction
Themes: Zoo Animals, Animal Sight
DEBUT AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR
What does a giraffe see?
What does a sloth see?
Come on a journey through the zoo, and see the world
through the eyes of animals! (from back cover)
Ready for an adventure, boy? [little boy said to his dog]
Why I like this book
Zoo See Me is based on an interesting premise: what do different animals (zoo animals) see when they see me? In this case, the animals see a young boy and his dog. The first spread is about the dog. What does he see when he looks at the boy. The dog sees the boy without any distortion and in the colors the boy wears, rather than the colors dogs actually see. A ring-tailed lemur, hanging upside down from a tree limb, sees the boy and dog upside down, with no distortion. A housefly sees the boy with a large center and eight similar images around it, due to its compound eyes.
At times humor distorts the theme of this picture book. A chimpanzee sees the boy with a chimp head, a lion sees both boy and dog as food (boy is a steak), and the hyena sees the boy as a clown and the dog as a dog balloon. What seems to be a serious book about what or how other animals see becomes a bad joke for three animals. Kids might laugh at these, but a nonfiction book should remain on point. Humor should be an aside, not in place of the information people expect to get; in this case, information on how different zoo animals see visitors.
But . . . Zoo See Me implies a day at the zoo, seeing zoo animals. While a mouse might cross your path and a housefly (or two-thousand) will visit the monkey house, they are not zoo animals, nor are dogs, or chameleons.
The sixteen animals presented in Zoo See Me, each have a tidbit about it, though not necessarily about its sight or how it sees things. Given that this is about how animals see, the back matter would be more interesting if it had focused on the animal’s sight.
Illustrations: Rendered digitally.
The illustrations are consistently good. Unfortunately, because the theme is inconsistent (some animals are not technically zoo animals and the theme of sight is lost in a few spreads and in the back matter), plus the off-key humor, I cannot recommend Zoo See Me!
Available at Amazon
If the subject interests you, you can also try:
Animal Sight by Kirsten Hall
Animal Talk by Etta Kaner & Greg Douglas
ZOO SEE ME! Text Copyright © 2019 by Chris Distler. Illustrations copyright © 2019 by Timothy Williams. Published by Chris Distler.
Copyright © 2019 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Interesting idea, but it sounds like it wasn’t executed very well. Unfortunate…
I agree. I had high hopes for this when I saw a couple of preview spreads. I think he was trying to add that “giggle factor” that can be so hard to truly achieve.