Traditional Thursday: If I Ran the Zoo


When thinking about traditional children’s literature, it’s hard to think of a more consistent staple than Dr. Seuss. Certainly, there are many books that a great number of children have read or been read, but everyone I met has had the pleasure of experiencing at least one Dr. Seuss book. Though not perhaps one of his best known, I really enjoy his book, If I Ran the Zoo.

if i ran the zoo

This is a silly book that encourages children to be imaginative when thinking about their future occupations and in crafting their dreams.

The book starts off with a little Gerald McGrew, who has some awfully grand ideas of how he wants to run the zoo. One thing to note that I couldn’t help but notice was the splash of color that was the lion cage, the blue. This blue, as soon as little Gerald gets to imagining, transforms into a radiant yellow. This is a little detail that I noticed later on as well.

zoo1  zoo2

I think one of the best parts of this book are how fun these totally made up animals are that inhabit his dream zoo. Another detail I really enjoyed about this book was that all of the illustrations were made with solely primary colors. It gives a feeling of the whole book being interconnected, especially when we arrive towards the end of the book and see the animals all grouped together on one page. That page is like a treasure hunt, letting you think back to the whole story and maybe even go on a small hunt to find the animals from the previous pages in the new zoo. 



As I mentioned before, I noticed the cage color a final time on the last page, where even though the other man is still in charge of the zoo, the cage has lit up yellow as though all suggesting that all of Gerald’s dreams are a possibility when it comes to how the zoo will be run in the future.

iirtz end

Overall, this book is a whimsical read to share with children. With plenty of rhyming, and the ever-present joy of Dr. Seuss’s silly made up words, it’s definitely a book that will get kids repeating back silly animal names to you. It’s definitely the kind of book I would consider reading any time, and I thin kit encourages children to dream big !
-Hannah Park 



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