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Entertaining Books to Read to Kids

Nhu Le
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Class Two at the Zoo

Class Two at the Zoo by Julie Jarman

Book Buzz is a blog produced in collaboration with neighborhood librarians from Houston Public Library, Harris County Public Library and the Bellaire Library.

Julia Jarman’s Class Two at the Zoo is a whimsical book that I encountered by chance a few years back. Since then, it has become a friend I can lean on to accompany me on trips to unfamiliar territories, such as new classrooms and libraries. As a children’s librarian, I find the story puts my nerves at ease, brings out my “storytelling voice” and captures my young audience’s attention. 

The story is set at a zoo and a class of young children are visiting on a field trip. Seems simple, but Jarman’s story is a wonderful blend of silliness and suspense as the rhyming words snake across the page along with the lurking . . . anaconda. Yes, an anaconda!

The children are too engrossed in looking at the silly actions of the giraffes, monkeys and kangaroos to notice the silent anaconda inching closer and closer to them. It’s fun to read out loud with quirky illustrations and a happy ending.

Here are some of my other favorite amusing stories to read aloud:

  • That’s not a Hippopotamus by Juliette Maclver is another animal-themed favorite read of mine. The illustrations are adorable and depict a diverse group of spunky children in search of the mischievous hippopotamus. The hippopotamus is in disguise and hidden throughout the story for the reader to find.
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. This book is a well-written twist to a classic story. This is one of my personal favorites to read in a classroom setting since the students are usually familiar with the classic version. I love seeing the students’ reaction when the story does not go where they believe it should.
  • Stephanie’s Ponytail by Robert Munsch was published in 1996 but is still relevant now as it was when it was first published. This book is best for early elementary school children and older. This is a story about a girl named Stephanie who decides to wear her hair in a ponytail after noting that no other kids in her school wear a ponytail. This is an amusing book that illustrates wonderfully the theme of individuality and peer pressure. The ending will make you smile.           

All of these books are available at your local Houston Public Library!                  

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