My Heart is Like a Zoo
By Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2009
My Heart is Like a Zoo bursts with vivid colors, fresh rhymes and twenty-one zoo animals cleverly illustrated with hearts. More than three hundred hearts in the book! Fresh metaphorical rhymes act as directional signs in a zoo, enticing a reader deeper and deeper into the animal menagerie. Each rhyme depicts an aspect of the heart, such as ‘eager’, ‘hopeful’, and ‘rugged’. Early readers learn affirmations of the heart. They learn about animals, how to find shapes and they practice counting. The book finished with the ‘zookeeper’ happily tuckered out while his zoo animals wait on the shelf for the next day of play.
Author/illustrator Michael Hall uses sixteen hearts to illustrate, “…quiet as a caterpillar wearing knitted socks.” He uses another sixteen hearts to illustrate “…bothered as a bull with a hornet in its hair.” Hall is a professional graphic designer, and it shows in his work. His images are simple, yet compelling. Each one comes to life on the page. Children with an artistic or engineering sense will study each animal to see how hearts can be transformed into animals. This is Hall’s first children’s book, and we’re sure to see many more books from this talented writer/illustrator.
Originally published in San Francisco Book Review