Z Is for Moose
Z Is for Moose
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Kelly L. Bingham, illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky
ISBN 9780060799847
Greenwillow/HarperCollins, 2012.
5 stars
Keywords: alphabet animals concept-book kelly-bingham teamwork theater z-is-for-moose

Z Is for Moose
by Kelly L. Bingham, illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky

Your child will delight in this theatrical comedy from Kelly Bingham (Shark Girl) and Caldecott Medalist Paul O. Zelinsky (Toys Come Home), which sets a new standard for the alphabet book.

"Okay, everyone. Let's get ready!" says a Zebra in a referee jersey that zestfully clashes with his stripes. Apple takes the stage first ("A is for Apple"), as Zebra looks on approvingly and checks Apple off his list. Ball lays aside its stuffed bear to steal the spotlight, followed by a coquettish Cat. But what's this? "D is for Moose"? "Moose does not start with D. You are on the wrong page," an irate Zebra announces in a dialogue balloon.

Young letter-learners will adore knowing more than Moose does, as he steps on Hat, shouting, "Is it my turn yet?" then suddenly wises up during Lollipop's turn ("Here it comes!"). But wait! "M is for..." Not Moose! "Wait! No! That was supposed to be me! Moose! With an M!" Moose erupts in a terrible twos–type tantrum. Zelinsky goes to town, breaking the frames and disrupting the established type treatment as Zebra tries to protect everything in Moose's path.

Author and artist convey emotional honesty in this group dynamic. Moose is like the overeager kid that you don't want on your team. But then, like Zebra, you feel horrible that you left him out. He just wants to play. When Zebra sees how crushed Moose is, well, let's just say that your youngster will delight in finding every single cast member on the final page, just like a curtain call. Encore!

This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

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