What's New at the Zoo?

Booklist - August 2009

Supported by supplementary activities both at the end and on a companion Web site, this visit to a zoo provides emergent readers with plenty of addition practice, as well as snippets of information about panda cubs, elephant calves, peachicks, and other familiar zoo animal babies. In carefully composed paintings, Waites poses groups of generic but easily distinguishable adults and offspring for viewers to add up. The exercise is printed in numerical form on each spread too, and though the sums increase from “2 + 1 = ?” to “12 + 8 = ?” they don’t go up in strict order, which should help discourage guessing. Educational purpose takes the front seat here, but rests lightly enough on the rhymed text and animal pictures to remain more a game than a chore. - John Peters

School Library Journal - September 2009

An attractive and instructive picture book. On each spread, a rich, full-bleed watercolor painting is accompanied by a rhyming stanza that encourages readers to add up the number of baby and adult zoo animals. The endearing scenes are framed in a bold pattern formed from a detail within the picture itself, to a very pleasing effect. A few zoological terms are deftly slipped into the text. Slade’s rhymes are refreshingly successful; they do not succumb to the trap of contrived language, as so often happens with rhyming. An appended section features a composite of all the spreads, allowing kids to review the equations simultaneously; this is followed by further math exercises and an activity for matching facts to the animal babies highlighted in the book. This cheerful package of images and information delivers intellectual nourishment in the guise of a tasty treat for the eyes. It’s a fun introduction to early math skills and basic animal facts.–Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR

Kirkus Reviews - Dec 2009

On a visit to the zoo, a young boy counts the animal babies and parents in each enclosure, the accompanying rhyme encouraging readers to do the math along with him. “Two tiny peachicks / gather round peahen. / Add one papa peacock. / How many in the pen?” Slade slyly sneaks in some great vocabulary, working the animal baby names into each verse. Equations appear on the corner of each page. Waites provides plenty of details—the borders of each spread are elaborately decorated, while the illustrations arrange the animals naturally ... A final spread encourages readers to count how many animals they saw in all at the zoo. Backmatter teaches two methods for adding all the numbers, a section about fact families and a matching game wherein readers can test their memories of baby names against some paragraphs of information about each animal’s development. The solid math and informative backmatter make this a worthwhile addition to libraries and math programs. (Picture book. 5-8)

For the Love of Books-June 2011

You never thought a trip to the zoo could be so much fun.  Slade makes reading her book a learning and fun experience, as you find out....What's New at the Zoo?  Just never know how rhyming and adding can bring so much fun to your youngster's zoo experience.  There are extra bonus fun activities to do along with this book added at the end.  Keep your youngster's mind active and bright throughout the hot summer months.  This is a delightful read and the illustrations are just adorable. 

Books 4 Learning-March 2011

There are so many excellent teaching opportunities just from sitting down and reading What’s New at the Zoo?  to your children, such as alliteration, rhyme, animal names (including male, female, and baby), counting, and adding.  Of course, your kids will be inspired to have their own animal adventure as they count animals on your zoo day trip.

Midwest Book Review - July 2009

"What's New At The Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure" is a children's animal/adding book by Suzanne Slade with an added educational bonus. In addition to eleven special animal addition pages and problems, there are creative activity pages with suggestions for related games and tasks at the end of the book, including addition methods explanations, Fact Families about related numbers, and animal matching activities. These last four pages can be duplicated to use as teaching materials along with the book. Aimed at children ages 4-8, "What's New At The Zoo?" tackles beginning math curriculum with fun-filled humour and interest. Full page color illustrations by Joan Waites richly enhances the text for young children.

Puget Sound Council-June 2010

On a trip to the zoo, readers are encouraged to add up parent and baby animals.  Each two-page spread features a sweet illustration of the animals, a short rhyming verse explaining what to add, and the addition number sentence.   At the end of the book, readers are challenged to add up all of the animals they saw at the zoo.  There is also an animal matching activity that gives facts the baby animals seen in the book.  This book looks like it was designed for use in an educational setting.  It would be a good addition to the math section in a school library.

National Writing for Children Center - Sept 18, 2009

Want an easy way to introduce or reinforce basic addition while also getting a nature lesson to boot? Then check out Suzanne Slade’s fantastic book, What’s New At the Zoo?, one of Arbordale’s Fall 2009 titles, for an educational, yet entertaining, resource.

What’s New At the Zoo? has the subtitle “An Animal Adding Adventure,” and young readers will indeed enjoy learning basic addition as they combine sets of different sets of zoo animals for a total sum on each full-color, two-page spread. They’ll also discover what the babies of various animals are called, what they eat, and about some of their activities.

The colorful illustrations and fun rhyming verses mesh together to create a first rate picture book—one that will have children eagerly turning pages. And at the end of the book, readers will be able to count the total number of animals featured at the zoo.

Arbordale does an outstanding job of producing books that combine math and science concepts with an interesting story to carry the action or simply provide the background for the lessons that are taught or introduced. What’s New At The Zoo? is no exception.

And as always, the ‘For Creative Minds’ section at the back of the book provides extra activities and/or information. In fact, this particular book includes two methods of teaching addition, a section on using fact families, and an animal matching activity. But there are tons more resources and even ebook versions on the Arbordale website at for this book and many more.

Ready Set Read Reviews - August 27, 2009

Coming from a household where frequent trips to visit the animals at the zoo is practically mandatory, there was no thought involved when I accepted the review opportunity for this book. What's New At The Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure, written by Suzanne Slade, is a zoo lover's delight.

On this animal adventure, readers travel through the zoo checking out each animal habitat and counting to see how many are in each. From elephants, to giraffes, to penguins and more. Readers get the opportunity to visit eleven different animal exibits, and in each they get the opportunity to learn both the name for the adult and for the baby. It's great fun because, as opposed to a regular picture book, What's New At The Zoo? is more than just a cute story. It's a story that makes you pay attention and think, but it doesn't do so in a way that makes it any less enjoyable than it's traditional counterpart. Quite the opposite in fact.

Both my girls, ages 3 and 5, couldn't get enough of this book. The colorful illustrations, by Joan Waites, and Slade's rythmic text is enough to draw any reader in. Then when you consider the mathematical question posed in each two page layout, it's like factoring in a game to the equation. Even my youngest daughter, who isn't really all that familiar with addition yet was totally able to work through the questions. She might not fully grasp the concept of these math skills yet, but because it was written in to the story like a game she found it fun and wanted to try it. Another fun aspect of the book was that Waites cleverly included a single soaring red balloon hidden in each picture. Both of my girls, but especially the youngest, had fun seeking it out in every animal's scene. That's what makes this book so great. It has appeal for both the younger and older readers.

And anyone who is familiar with Arbordale's fabulous line knows none is complete without the brilliant "For Creative Minds" educational section always included at the back of each book. What's especially great about this particular "Creative Minds" section is that the publisher has offered some wonderful, real world, learning advice that is practical and not just fun to know but actually something they'll need to know. It explains and demonstrates two different methods of addition, adding everything in groups of ten and also adding by columns. There's also a section that offers short mathematical problems and then uses a number fact family triangle to help illustrate the problems. It's hard to explain, but trust me it's cool. Something like this will be an incredibly useful tool for a math beginner.

Plus, since this is a book all about animals, this section wouldn't be complete without a part dedicated just to them. Last but not least readers will enjoy learning the classification of each animal and doing the Animal Matching Activity. In this area you are given a thumbnail size picture of each animal and a list of eleven animal fun facts which you must then match together. Readers who paid attention during the story will have picked up the name for each baby animal, making this puzzle a cinch.

Parents and educators want to be sure to take advantage of the free online resources and training tools offered at Arbordale for this and, I believe, all their delightful kids books. View a virtual preview of the book, hear a segment read aloud, download copies of the "For Creative Minds" section to print, or even have your child take a quiz (Reading, Comprehension, or Math) about what he/she learned from the book.

There's just no other way to say it than, you can't go wrong with this or any of the other marvelous titles from Arbordale. You just can't!

Tif Talks Books - August 25, 2009

You can discover an animal expedition with a little math along the way in What's New at the Zoo?: An Animal Adding Adventure by Suzanne Slade. Slade's book is yet another published by the educational and much-loved Arbordale Publishing, in which you can find additional resources on their website, including teaching activities, related websites, a limited time access to the ebook version, and so much more.

So, what did I think about the book? I loved it!! I loved the illustrations by Joan Waites! I loved the concept! I am always a fan of the activity pages in the back and the access to the online resources. But, what I loved the most is how this book incorporated the subject of math! It doesn't make the kids "feel" like they are doing math, a subject that many can often have negative feelings about or try to avoid. The math is incorporated into a rhyming story, keeping the child(ren) engaged and wanting to count and add some more!

My son, a preschooler, asked me to read this book to him multiple nights in a row! He kept coming back to it again and again! We would even finish reading the story and he would immediately want to go back to the first page to re-live the adventure!! This alone is a demonstration of the power of this book! Afterall, the only reason he quit asking for it was because I put it up so that I would remember to write this very review! Now, I'm off to add it back to our shelves, where I know it will end up right back in my child's hands!

Laura Williams' Musings - August 13, 2009

My children love to read and to be read to. This book arrived in perfect timing as I am teaching the almost 4 year old to count. He loves animals so this book peaked his interest greatly being that it is packed with zoo animals of all kinds. There are pandas, elephants, peacocks, monkeys, snakes, bears, kangaroos, zebras, giraffes, penguins, and bats. All are in vibrant colors and shown in a habitat setting that one would find the animal in at a zoo.The back of the book contains activities that you can do with your child. There are different extra math ideas and an animal matching activity.Overall, this book has found a prominent place on our bookshelf. I’m sure it will be used over and over in the coming months and years what with my youngest being 2.  He loves animals too.

Wild About Nature - Sept. 6, 2009

On this lively adventure, children will hone their addition skills by adding up animals all over the zoo. They will learn about animal behaviors, and they will learn the proper names for many baby animals. Did you know that baby bats are called pups or that baby giraffes are called calves? Slade’s rhymes are fast-paced and fun, and Waites’ illustrations with borders are striking. The For Creative Minds section at the back provides extra addition activities as well as an animal matching activity that provides even more fun facts about the animals featured in this story. Did you know that a mama boa carries 20 to 60 neonates (baby boas) at one time! Did you know that baby kangaroos, commonly known as joeys, stay in their mother’s pouches for about 11 months before venturing out into the big wide world? What’s New At The Zoo? is featured in Arbordale’s brand new Ebook Revolution.

In the Pages - July 22, 2009

I think this would be a great title for a zoo theme - it is a fun read that takes you on a trip through the zoo but ALSO has you doing math - addition - at the same time. That is what I so enjoy about Arbordale's titles - they are so often not just covering one topic, but two at the same time - their books are usable over and over!

Reading to Know - July 30, 2009

We never did make it to the zoo this summer, as I had hoped we would. Instead we've had to content ourselves with books on zoo trips and zoo animals. In What's New at the Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure we learn to add. This book is a bit above where we're at right now, so we just spent our time looking at the animals and counting them out. However, the book is laid out so that the children can solve additional problems by counting the animals so we're not too far off the mark here! THe book begins with 2 + 1 and continues on up to 12 + 8. You count pandas, peacocks, snakes and bats. My son, being fascinated with the idea of the zoo (one day we'll take him there - really!) loves this book. He likes flipping through it. It's a bit hard for him to distinguish some of the animals from one another towards the end of the book. For example, there are 20 bats and they are all brown and they kind of blend together making it hard to point them out individually. But he's only 2 and I imagine a kid who was a little bit older than that wouldn't have as much trouble.

Katie's Literature Lounge - July 1, 2009

This is another example of the wonderful Arbordale Publishing! I personally love books where kids learn as they're reading... the majority of books allow readers learn while they're reading, but few actually have that as a goal when the initial writing begins! This book teaches addition in a simple, fun way that disguises the actual process of learning while a story is being told... Love, love, love it!

A mother and her young son set out to the zoo for an adventure. Mom has a plan in mind, but to her young son, it's just like any other trip to the zoo! A story is told about each animal they visit at the zoo and then the reader is prompted with a simple addition problem.

Not only are readers getting practice with addition, they're also learning about the names of the baby animals as well. This is a great book for animal lovers... and might even inspire a field trip to the zoo this summer!

Reader Views - July 2009

Cayden, Age 5: “I liked practicing adding the numbers of the animals together. It got kind of hard at the end but it was fun! I liked learning the names of the baby animals; like that elephant babies are called calves. My favorite pictures were the ones of the snakes and bears. The matching game at the end was fun too!”
Parent’s comments: “What’s New at the Zoo?: An Animal Adding Adventure” by Suzanne Slade is a great educational book to help your young child learn addition and also a number of facts about animals. There is a section at the end of the book called “For Creative Minds” which expands on the knowledge presented in the main part and presents a number of other fun activities. We enjoyed the rhyming text and even I learned a thing or two! - June 2009

What’s New at the Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure takes the reader on an animal adding adventure. This learning zoo adventure begins: “Two hungry pandas eat a bamboo lunch. One cub joins the meal. How many crunch and munch? 2 + 1 = ?” Through delightful rhyming text and numerals Ms. Slade creates a wonderfully engaging learning experience for children. Each page offers a new addition problem.

Within the rhyming text Ms. Slade cleverly weaves information about animals and the names of the baby animals pictured. Did you know that a baby mammoth boa is called a neonate? But that’s not all: the illustrations are striking - they are vivid, realistic and elaborate. Children will love reading this entertaining and educational picture book, in fact, they may not even realize they’re learning in the process.

An added feature to this book is the “For Creative Minds” and “Animal Matching Activity” educational section in the back. It offers additional math problems and solutions as well as information on the animals mentioned in the book. It also explains the differences in the animal classes: mammals, birds and reptiles, and asks the reader to put each of the animals shown within the book into their correct class.

I read this book to my three-year-old grand son. He said his favorite part was the picture with the peacocks. I then had my eight-year-old great nephew read it to me while answering the addition questions. They both enjoyed this book as will all children within the intended age group and even those a little younger. I highly recommend What’s New at the Zoo? - Karen Coiffi-Ventrice

Washington Parent - July 2009

Little ones enamored of animals can visit 11 favorite critters through this charming verse narrative by Suzanne Slade. This zoo proves both entertaining and educational. In addition to learning about pandas, kangaroos and zebras, children are introduced to basic math concepts – counting and addition – in a playful manner. Indeed, the book is designed to follow kids from the toddler through the early elementary years as the back matter offers counting games and animal facts more sophisticated than the simple information in the text. Watercolor illustrations and colorful borders by Maryland artist and Corcoran instructor Joan Waites enliven the double-page spreads. Kids will enjoy counting the animals, finding their accurately rendered and adorable babies and searching for the elusive red balloon hidden in every picture.

Stories for Children Magazine - August 2009

If you have two hungry pandas who are eating a bamboo lunch and they are joined by one cub, how many pandas are there to crunch and munch? Children love to look at pictures of animals, so what a wonderful way to introduce them to both the animals themselves, such as elephants, pea fowl, monkeys, boas, brown bears, kangaroos, zebras, giraffes, penguins, and fruit bats, and to basic adding facts too! Suzanne Slade's rhyming text combines with Joan Waites's realistic illustrations to take youngsters on a trip through the zoo not only to learn all about the animals but also to count them. As usual with Arbordale books, four pages in the back have further information "For Creative Minds" that include more material on addition and an animal matching activity. There are also related websites, interactive quizzes, and teaching activities on Arbordale's website to help parents and teachers. What's New at the Zoo is certainly an animal adding adventure.

Texas Kitchen - August 2017

This book teaches children not only about animal families and their habits but about math as well. Author, Suzanne Slade, and illustrator, Joan Waites do a great job showing the reader what life is like in the zoo. I love how they incorporate animal parents and children into the math equations. This helps instill the comforting feeling of family in the story. Also love how the one learns the real names for many babies and parents of each species. Filled with lovely illustrations of zoo animals, this soft backed book is sure to please. Creative Minds section continues the joy of learning after the story is done.