May 2015 Issue
April 29, 2015

Check it out: Guess Who Zoo?

Source: NYSUT United

By Howard Eisenberg

Guess Who Zoo bookcoverRecommended by: Katrina Williams, K-6 Librarian, Greenwich Elementary School

Suitable for: Grades Pre-K--1.

Why I chose it: Guess Who Zoo is a colorful, engaging rhyming book sure to delight even the pickiest audience. The mischievous monkey steals the zookeeper's keys and lets all of his animal friends out of their pens. In order to get the animals back into their zoo habitat, readers must help the zookeeper solve a few riddles. Clues to the riddles' solutions are given in rhyming verses and illustrations. At the end of the book, the author includes interesting facts about each of the animals in the story.

What I like best: I love the story behind the story! After a trip to Australia and New Zealand, which included a zoo tour, Eisenberg wrote the poems to include on postcards he sent to his grandchildren. At his wife's suggestion, Eisenberg turned his postcard poems into this book. He followed up Guess Who Zoo with two additional texts, Guess Who Farm and Guess Who Neighborhood.

How teachers can use it: This book is an excellent resource for teaching students many of the standards highlighted in the Common Core's ELA for kindergarten. It can be used to teach students how to pull key details from text, to expand their vocabulary, and to read aloud to the class, which actively engages them for purpose and understanding.

About the author: Howard Eisenberg's work has appeared in Parenting Magazine, Baby Talk and The Wall Street Journal. He has written six adult and three children's books. Visit

"Check it Out" features books recommended to teachers and parents by school librarians and other educators. Have a recommendation? Send suggestions, along with your name and local union, to