There comes a time in everyone’s life when they find themselves knowing books by heart. Dear Zoo is one of those books: parents the length and breadth of the country can recite it verbatim, so often have they read the story to their little ones. In fact roughly one on five UK households has a copy of the book somewhere on it’s shelves.
The classic book, written by Rod Campbell, was published thirty years ago.
What I love more than anything is that the story is as perfect for my children now as it was for my baby brother all those years ago. It’s the simple tale of finding the right animal companion: the elephant was too big, the camel too grumpy, and the Zoo had to think very hard before finally finding the right pet. And children adore it. How do I know? It has been part of my life as a parent for as long as I have been a parent.
What I didn’t know was that it was one of the very first lift-the-flap books that are so common now: Rod Campbell, who I had the chance to meet recently at Dear Zoo’s 30th birthday, told the assembled bloggers and blogger-children, that he was inspired to create it after noting the popularity of Spot the Dog.
At the party to celebrate 30 Years of Dear Zoo, we were treated to a very interactive reading of the book, with help from a few of the youngest attendees, colouring, balloons and cake: all essential elements of a good birthday party. You can see a version of Fleurble the Zookeeper’s performance on the Dear Zoo website, where you can also download pictures to colour in, and you can enter a competition to win an iPad 3.