Chomp! Zoo

Book review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Chomp! Zoo Book Poster Image
Detailed, funny illustrations show what zoo animals do.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Chomp! Zoo teaches children to recognize different wild animals and what they do with their mouths (which are emphasized in the illustrations). Kids will learn what sounds elephants and sea lions make, what a panda eats, and more.

Positive Messages

Similar grins on all of the animals give kids the feeling that zoo animals are happy and friendly.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There's no plot or character development in this simple picture book, so there's no role modeling involved.

Violence & Scariness

Most of the creatures in the illustrations in Chomp! Zoo have the same big grin with the same large teeth. Though the animals have very happy faces, some kids could be a little scared of the page that says "Tiger chomps."

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Heather Brown's Chomp! Zoo shows young children friendly, detailed, stylized illustrations of zoo animals, along with a couple of words about what each animal does ("Elephant trumpets," "Panda munches," etc.). This book is short and simple in structure; some words are above easy-reader level (particularly "komodo dragon"), but most will be instantly recognizable to readers of any level because of the illustrations. Very young children will learn to recognize different animals and what they do with their mouths (the sounds they make, what they eat). In most of the illustrations, the creatures have surprisingly large teeth -- some kids could be alarmed by the "Tiger chomps" page.

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What's the story?

Heather Brown's picture book CHOMP! ZOO tells, with just a couple of words per page, what a selection of wild animals do with their mouths: "elephant trumpets, komodo dragon hisses, sea lion barks, panda munches," etc. Each page shows a detailed color illustration of one delightfully grinning animal; most of the creatures have great big, wavy rows of teeth.

Is it any good?

The detailed, somewhat realistic illustrations in Chomp! Zoo, combined with the repetition of uniformly large, wavy rows of teeth, creates an arresting visual style. Kids will certainly remember these pictures, and will learn to identify the animals and what they do and say. This picture book makes a nice change from the cuteness of typical children's illustrations; these pictures will make youngsters notice the different colors and textures of the animals' hides or fur, and may inspire young artists to see and draw animals in new ways.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about sounds the animals make. Can you make a sound like an elephant?

  • The panda munches. What does he munch on?

  • Draw a picture of your favorite zoo animal. What sound does it make?

Book details

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