Crown Publishing Group: American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee

Through with the Zoo

Goat is unhappy living in the petting zoo where he is constantly touched by "grabby little hands." When he breaks out, heading for a place where he can be alone, he hightails it into the "big zoo," where the animals seem "safe from the wild children." First, he stays in the habitat of a "clingy koala." Then he moves in with a "nosy elephant." All the zoo animals want to be near him: the penguins surround him, the monkeys climb all over him and even the big bear embraces him like a cub. What's a little goat seeking a refuge to do? Then, Goat finds a big tree away from the crowds and the other animals, and, at first, it seems perfect: "No little faces, no little hands, no little hugs." Could Goat be content there?  Maybe, but he soon finds out that even he "needs a hug now and then." When Goat realizes that he can enjoy the diverse children at the petting zoo and solitary life in the big tree at different times, his happiness is complete.

With author-illustrator Jacob Grant's succinct text, subdued palette and retro-style digital illustrations, Through with the Zoo's quietly amusing premise will help young children sort out their own responses to crowds, hugs, noise, commotion and restful situations. Goat's face is hilariously expressive, displaying just how he feels about being touched, allowing children to find different ways to identify with him as they think about their own experiences at the playground, in preschool or at home. --Melinda Greenblatt, freelance book reviewer