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If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss

If I Ran the Zoo (1950)

by Dr. Seuss

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I think this is a great book for all children to read and it will teach them to use their imagination and get them to think outside of the box. If I Ran The Zoo is a story about a young boy who lets his imagination run wild and shares with the readers what the zoo what be like if he was in charge. I really enjoy the way Dr. Seuss writes. I’ve read many Dr. Seuss books and I loved every one of them. I love the choice of words he uses and the creative names and features his gives these animals in this book. The pictures go perfectly with the way the animals are described in the story. I think kids will get a good laugh at this book seeing all the different animals the little boy came up with and I think it will be good to get kids thinking and getting them to want to use their imagination. I think a good activity for students to do after reading this book is to go and draw up their own unique animal they would want to see in a zoo. ( )
  lcrosby | Jan 27, 2016 |
The book IF I RAN THE ZOO by Dr. Seuss is a book for children of all ages. This book is a book to help kids to learn to become creative. It shows kids that creativity is good and an important thing to have because it makes things more interesting. The pictures in the book also help to show creativity. The way Dr. Seuss uses words and pictures to match what he is trying to say is a way of creativity. Overall, I think this book is a good way for kids to be more creative. ( )
  nhall002 | Nov 11, 2015 |
I loved this book for so many reasons. The writing was superb and followed a great pattern, the illustrations really enhanced the story, and the characters were super unique and interesting. The writing and language followed a rhyming pattern for the entire book and throughout the story the phrase " Why if I ran the zoo..." was repeated. This repetition created a solid rhythm throughout the book and created suspense. The illustrations were my favorite part of the book. These illustrations made the very different characters in the book, such as the "a tizzle-topped Tufted Mazurka" and the "scraggle-foot Mulligatawny," really come to life. Being able to see a visual illustration of these creatures made the book a lot better for readers, especially young children. Lastly, the characters in this book made the book a lot better. The main character, Gerald McGrew, had a wild imagination which made the story fascinating. McGrew's imagination also could inspire young children to be more imaginative; this book could be used to help children develop imaginative stories. If I Ran The Zoo was one of my favorite books I have read so far. ( )
  CasieProdoehl | Sep 1, 2015 |
Random House has reissued the three titles by Dr. Seuss that received Caldecott Honor awards. This is a 1951 Caldecott Honor book. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
Gerald McGrew likes the zoo, but he can't help but wonder what it would be like if he ran the zoo. If that were the case, he'd be sure to find all kinds of unusual animals and travel the whole world to find them. And so we get to glimpse inside Gerald's mind as he fantasizes about a number of kooky imaginary animals and how he'd get them to his zoo.

This is among one of Dr. Seuss's earliest picture book titles, but it's already full of classic Seussical elements, such as the fast-paced rhyming text full of imaginary creatures with bizarre names and the accompanying illustrations of these furry, spindly, far-fetched beings. But like with some of his other earlier works, this title doesn't have the popularity of Dr. Seuss books like The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, etc. One thing that I can't help but notice about these less popular early ones is how much more they are a product of their times. Virtually all of the "characters" in this book are male - yes, even the fictional animals, including the hens (which by definition should be female!). Sadly, however, that hasn't changed much over the years. The more glaring issue is how badly the "other" is treated in the pages of If I Ran the Zoo, with some of the worse stereotypical depictions of non-Caucasian people and the downright lack of acknowledgement of people from foreign lands actually being people. Take these lines for instance:

"I'll capture a scraggle-foot Mulligatawny,
A high-steeping animal fast as the wind
From the blistering sands of the Desert of Zind.
This beast is the beast that the brave chieftains ride
When they want to go fast to find some place to hide.
A Mulligatawny is fine for my zoo
And so is a chieftain. I'll bring one back, too."

The accompanying illustration is of a camel-like animal being ridden by a turbaned man with a scimitar at his side. Apparently a Middle Eastern man (one who seems to be stuck in an earlier century's costuming) is so fantastical to both Dr. Seuss and his readership that he is worthy of a place in the zoo, as if the zoo were synonymous with "freak show" and this person were not in fact an actual person with autonomy, a family of his own, thoughts, feelings, etc. I know this may be reading a lot into a silly picture book for many people, but the implications are too easily there for me to fully enjoy this book or recommend it. I'm glad I read it on my own before sharing with any children, as I would rather not do that. There are enough wonderful Seuss books out there that to share with little ones. Being as there are other fun parts of this book, I did appreciate some of this book as an adult, especially for the combination of new and nostalgia wrapped up in reading a Dr. Seuss book that I hadn't read before. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Nov 6, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394800818, Hardcover)

"It's a pretty good zoo," said young Gerald McGrew, "and the fellow who runs it seems proud of it, too." But if Gerald ran the zoo, the New Zoo, McGrew Zoo, he'd see to making a change or two: "So I'd open each cage. I'd unlock every pen, let the animals go, and start over again." And that's just what Gerald imagines, as he travels the world in this playfully illustrated Dr. Seuss classic (first published back in 1950), collecting all sorts of beasts "that you don't see every day." From the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant to the blistering sands of the Desert of Zind, Gerald hunts down every animal imaginable ("I'll catch 'em in countries no one can spell, like the country of Motta-fa-Potta-fa-Pell"). Whether it's a scraggle-foot Mulligatawny or a wild-haired Iota (from "the far western part of south-east North Dakota"), Gerald amazes the world with his new and improved zoo: "This Zoo Keeper, New Keeper's simply astounding! He travels so far that you think he would drop! When do you suppose this young fellow will stop?"

But Gerald's weird and wonderful globe-trotting safari doesn't end a moment too soon: "young McGrew's made his mark. He's built a zoo better than Noah's whole Ark!" Some of the text and illustrations--imaginative as they are--are obviously dated, such as the following passage: "I'll hunt in the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant/ With helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant,/ And capture a fine fluffy bird called the Bustard/ Who only eats custard with sauce made of mustard." And your children may be the first to recognize that attitudes have changed since the xenophobic '50s. But that doesn't mean this tale need be discarded; instead, it should be discussed. Ironically, Seuss was trying here--in his wild, explosive, and sometimes careless manner--to celebrate the joys of unconventionality and the bliss of liberation! (Ages 4 to 8)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:26 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

If Gerald McGrew ran the zoo, he'd let all the animals go and fill it with more unusual beasts--a ten-footed lion, an Elephant-Cat, a Mulligatawny, a Tufted Mazurka, and others.

» see all 3 descriptions

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