The zoo is a wonderful place.  One can see animals from around the world, some in their natural habitat.  
A drive to one of the area’s zoos is not always convenient, but one can visit a zoo any day of the week through books available at the Hamburg Public Library.  
Several authors, in fact, have used a zoo as the theme for their children’s stories.  Two board  books for toddlers, “Dear Zoo” (Campbell) and “Barney Goes to the Zoo” (Dowdy), are actually flipbooks that allow them to guess what animal they’ll see at the zoo.  
Easy books include “Wild About Us!” (Beaumont), “My Heart is Like a Zoo” (Hall), and “A Children’s Zoo” (Hoban).  Also available are “If All the Animals Came Inside” (Pinder), “If I Ran the Zoo” (Seuss), “Wild About You!” (Sierra), and “Wild Baby Animals” (Wallace).
If your young readers are more interested in one animal than another, the library’s book selections can accommodate that, too.
Our first stop will be the primates.  
Nonfiction books such as “Leakey the Elder:  a chimpanzee and his community” (Teleki), “The Chimpanzees I Love:  saving their world and ours” (Goodall), “Gorilla Gorilla” (Fenner), “Koko’s Kitten” (Patterson), and “Primates:  the amazing world of lemurs, monkeys, apes” (Sleeper) provide facts.  Fictional stories like “Good Morning, Gorillas” (Osborne), “Monkey:  Not Ready for Kindergarten” (Brown), “Monkey:  Not Ready for Baby,” (Brown), and “The Complete Adventures of Curious George” (Rey) provide fun.
Next are the elephants. Many authors like Dr. Seuss and Mo Willems feature pachyderms in several books—“Horton Hatches the Egg,” “Horton Hears a Who!,” and from the Elephant and Piggie series  “I Broke My Trunk!” or “Elephants Cannot Dance!”   Other easy readers are “Tweak, Tweak” (Bunting), “Eukee the Jumpy Jumpy Elephant,” (Corman), “Elympics” (Kennedy). “Hey, Elephant!” (Lapp), and “Seven Blind Mice,” (Young).  A nonfiction book about these large animals is “Elephant Herds and Rhino Horns” (Torgersen).
Moving on to hippos, we have one of my favorite board books “But Not the Hippopotamus” as well as “Belly Button Book!” (both by Boynton).  More hippopotamus hijinxs  come in the form of “Frog and Friends” (Bunting), “Best Friends:  the true story of Owen and Mzee” (Edwards),”George and Martha” (Marshall), “Kiss Kiss!” (Wild), and “ZooZical” (Sierra).
Several Australian animals one might see at the zoo appear in books as well.  Animals from down under are featured in “Enoch, the Emu” (Winch), “The Old Woman Who Loved to Read” (Winch), “Dingoes at Dinnertime” (Osborne), “Wombat” (Vaughn), “I See a Kookaburra!” (Jenkins), and “An Australian ABC of Animals” (Bancroft) in fiction.  In junior nonfiction, readers can check out “Kangaroos” (Lehne), “Koalas” (Fenney), and “Look What Came from Australia” (Davis).
Leave it to Eric Carle to focus a book on one of the jungle’s slowest moving tree dwellers, the sloth.  Sloths live in the jungles of South America hanging upside down from branches. They sometimes live in the same tree for days or even weeks.  Appropriately the book’s title is “Slowly, Slowly, Slowly,” said the Sloth.”
Our journey through the zoo, also takes us by the giraffes and flamingos.  The books we’ll read are “Giraffes Can’t Dance” (Andreae) and “Flamingos on the Roof:  poems and paintings” (Brown).  
Finally, we have a few books that incorporate a variety of jungle animals in their stories.  Included are “Rumble in the Jungle” (Andreae), “Wonders of the Rain Forest” (Palazzo-Craig), and “The Jungle Book:  the Mowgli stories” (Kipling).
Next time you’re wishing you could take a trip to the zoo, stop by the library and we’ll be happy to get you started.