Six Impossible Things

A Blog About Fiction and Reading

A Room with a Zoo

ZooA Room with a Zoo by Jules Feiffer

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Aside from illustrating The Phantom Tollbooth (which is the best book ever written), Jules Feiffer has written a few children’s books, too.  Man in the Ceiling and A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears are both good books in their own right, so when I saw that he had a new book out for kids, I had to read it.

A Room with a Zoo is a biographical novel, with a main character named Julie, whose father is a famous cartoonist, and who wants nothing more than a chihuahua for a pet.  She’s only nine, though, and her parents feel like she’s too young for a dog yet, so they try her out with other animals first.  First, there’s the cat named Timmy, who is followed by a hamster named Hammy, a fish named Osca, a turtle named Turtleini, and a kitten, named Jimmie.  Throughout the whole story, though, she’s concerned that she’s asked for too many pets, and used up all of her asks in getting these pets, that she won’t have any left over for the dog.

This is an endearing, cute story.  Julie is a spunky character, and she’s portrayed with love by her father.  It’s also a “warts and all” story, since Feiffer doesn’t shy away from the bad side of owning pets, but all the characters persevere in an effort to make Julie happy.  Near the beginning of the story, I became a little bored, since it was more autobiography than story, and it seemed to ramble without a clear focus.  The second half of the story became more focused, though, and more what I expected from a story.

Feiffer really captures what it means to own pets, and to care for them.  I think anyone who owns and loves pets will identify with Julie, and remember their own trials at having their own pets when they were children.  A Room with a Zoo is a sweet book, and should be a fun read for children and adults.

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July 21, 2006 - Posted by | Juvenile Fiction, Reviews

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