I don’t remember reading Dear Zoo as a child, but there is something about it that feels very familiar to me.
I think it must be the illustrations and the font. They have an Eighties look about them – or more likely, where Dear Zoo went, the rest of the decade followed.
Author and illustrator Rod Campbell published this classic ‘lift the flap’ board book back in 1982, so it’s only slightly younger than me.
Yet it continues to gain new fans because it appeals to the curiosity and humour of the youngest readers – and it is delightful for parents to share with them.
The story is easy to follow too. Our narrator wants a pet so he writes to the zoo asking for help.
What follows is a series of deliveries in different shapes and sizes, containing increasingly weird and wonderful – but wholly unsuitable – creatures.
To reveal the animal you need to open the parcels by lifting the flaps, which is huge fun for everyone.
Baby Bookworm shrieks with delight as I make dramatic opening noises and name what is hidden inside. Just this week, he’s starting opening them himself – a lovely milestone to see.
Before long, he’ll no doubt be able to name the animals too.
That’s the beauty of Dear Zoo – so simple yet so enduring, a must-have for your child’s library that they will enjoy time after time.
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell, £6.99, Macmillan