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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 have fond memories of reading this book at the home of a friend. It must have been 1950 or '51. I was in first or second grade. I loved the way that phonics plus rhyme let me figure out all the nonsense words.

My apologies to those who hated the book - I must admit that whatever racism was there, it went right over my head.

I probably won't ever read it again. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
In this Dr. Seuss classic, If I Ran the Zoo tells the story Gerald McGrew as he imagines how he'd run a zoo. This book will stimulate any child's imagination with silly words from silly worlds and mischievously cheeky characters. ( )
  Ali.Simon | Nov 4, 2016 |
Dr. Suess' book made the list for one of the top challenged/banned books for the American Library Association.
The grounds on which this book was challenged was the illustrations...people felt that the illustrations were racist and only based on stereotypical depictions of people of different races and cultures. The book was also controversial because it talks about hunting creatures from different places and taking them captive, essentially, for the zoo.
  hannahpere | Oct 2, 2016 |
If I Ran The Zoo is a popular book written by the author we all know and love as Dr. Seuss. This particular book by Dr. Seuss happens to be a challenged book. The story is all about the character in the book named young Gerald McGrew, and he tells the reader all about the different animals he would like to catch if he owned the zoo. Unfortunately, this book is considered racists and a concern for young children. I believe that this book may be considered offensive due to some of the illustrations and the way Dr. Seuss explains the animals he is interested in capturing. For instance, when Dr. Seuss says – “I’ll hunt in the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant with helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant”. Some readers may consider this racist and may think that Dr. Seuss is stereotyping the Asian culture. Also, there is a passage that may seem racist against Arabians, where Dr. Seuss exclaims the Arabian will be captured along with the animal called a “Mulligatawny”. Although I don’t believe children will be able to pick out this from the passages, when I read them I began to think it may be a little stereotypical, but I don’t believe this was Dr. Seuss’s intentions. I believe Dr. Seuss was just having fun, and as a future teacher, I don’t think this is a story I would avoid having in my class due to these reasons. ( )
  asialandry | Sep 26, 2016 |
Dr. Seuss is known for his wild drawings already, but this book is filled with various, made-up creatures. We are first introduced to a young boy, Gerald McGrew, who is analyzing the lion exhibit at the zoo he is in. The book starts off with small splashes of colors but as we progress into Gerald's imagination the more the amount and intensity of the colors increase. I don't think there was a specific reason why certain elements of the drawings were colored and others were not but the color or absent of color, definitively draws the reader's eyes. ( )
  imasson | Aug 31, 2016 |
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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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