Written & Illustrated by: Rebecca Walsh
For Ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Imagination, School, Field Trips, Social-Emotional Learning, BIPOC Protagonists, Mindfulness.
Amadou’s Zoo follows a class on a field trip, and the magical imagination of Amadou, a boy whose mind wanders to the most fantastical of places. For those of us that have taught in a classroom, we’ve all had an Amadou (and to be honest, they’re my favorite students). Amadou doesn’t want to slow down and read informational plaques, he wants to imitate flamingos, wade with hippos, and bring the entire class with him into his imaginative adventures. Amadou craves an immersive zoological experience.
I love the way that the reader can track how Amadou’s colorful imagination entices more and more of his classmates throughout their tour of the zoo. Amadou’s teacher Madame Minier is poised instead of playful, steadfast instead of spontaneous, and emphasizes slow walking rather than traveling on the sweeping cloud of imagination on which Amadou rides. The main takeaway of this book is to always take time for fun and imagination, because it makes experiences more magical. This is something I love about books in general, they can create a beautiful world like Amadou has bubbling up at every exhibit. Amadou’s Zoo is definitely worth a read, particularly with your quirkiest tiny humans.
This book was kindly sent by Page Street Kids, but all opinions are my own. This book is out today!
Rebecca Walsh studied Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design. She signed her first book contract upon graduation and has been working as a children’s book illustrator ever since.
Her first book, “The Well at The End of the World” by author Robert San Souci, received major reviews and Booklist recognized with: “newcomer Walsh bothers less about painting pretty fairy-tale scenes than she does about expressing characters’ inner natures.” Her subsequent books “How the Tiny People Grew Tall” and “The Girl Who Wanted to Dance” also received starred reviews. Rebecca has also worked in advertising, packaging and educational publishing.
Rebecca prides herself on her character development, attention to detail, and thoughtful execution. Much of her imagery can be traced back to her childhood in the rolling hills of rural Vermont. She currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband, a sculptor whom she met at RISD, and their two children.