Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “If I Ran the Zoo” as Want to Read:
If I Ran the Zoo
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

If I Ran the Zoo

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,758 Ratings  ·  264 Reviews
Animals abound in Dr. Seuss's Caldecott Honor-winning picture book" If I Ran the Zoo. "Gerald McGrew imagines the myriad of animals he'd have in his very own zoo, and the adventures he'll have to go on in order to gather them all. Featuring everything from a lion with ten feet to a Fizza-ma-Wizza-ma-Dill, this is a classic Seussian crowd-pleaser. In fact, one of Gerald's c ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published October 12th 1950 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 1950)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 02, 2016 Mariℓina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While on the project of re-reading classic children's books with my nine year old brother, If I Ran The Zoo, was the third book of our expedition into Dr. Seuss's world.

Exactly like all of his other books, this one was great. A little journey into weird, and extraordinary nooks all over the fantasy world with one goal, to find and capture, unique animals and bring them back to the new zoo.

The Zoo McGrew, made by little Gerald McGrew, is the place to be if you are an amazing animal, or a curious
Jan 22, 2011 Kathryn rated it liked it
Shelves: for-my-boys
Mainly due to the phrase "helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant", I can not recommend this book. I was surprised and not expecting to encounter such a statement in a Dr. Seuss book. Guess that showed me. Luckily, I tend to read ahead in my mind and skipped that entire part when reading to my children. People who excuse such comments based on when the book was written annoy me. Because the book was written in 1950, that makes it ok for me to read it to my kids? I do not think so. Otherwise, ...more
Nov 23, 2009 Wendy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't believe in banning books, but I wish I had been warned about this book. There are, to me, very offensive depictions and descriptions of Asians and Africans in this book. When I turned the page and saw the "helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant", I felt as though a hand had reached up and slapped me.

I love many of Dr. Seuss's books and their messages, but I'll have to let this one by. It's just too hurtful.
Maria João Fernandes
"And, somehow or oth, I think I could find
Some beasts of a much more un-usual kind."

Gerald McGrew é um menino pequenino com ideias grandes! Se ele fosse o responsável pelo Jardim Zoológico, as coisas seriam diferentes. No livro "If I Ran the Zoo", ele conta-nos, sempre a rimar, os animais que teria no seu Jardim Zoológico e como os capturaria, descrevendo as suas características físicas, a sua personalidade, bem como os locais exóticos onde pertencem.

Dr. Seuss recorre à sua imaginação maravilhos
Dec 29, 2012 Shannon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shannon by: Mike
This was just about the best gol-darndest book ever! ;)
Sep 21, 2010 Bookish rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Might be a little on the long side, but the imaginative concept is terrific.

The book does have some physical racial stereotyping, which has engendered some very negative emotional reactions from some readers. Certainly they are noticeable, but consider when the book was published (1950). Because our world has become so racially sensitive, are we now to set aside all books that have racial insensitivities? That would mean setting aside Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, The Color Purple, There Eyes We
Jan 20, 2016 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bloody 'ell! That's me knackered now, my jaw actually hurts from reading this. The rhyming is mad, the rhyming's insane, the rhyming is bad, it's left me in pain.

In this book Dr. Seuss has been at his most inventive, making up people, places, animals and all kinds of other stuff. It has been great fun reading this one and I think we'll be reading it again in a few days.
Apparently Dr. Seuss didn't learn from his mistakes because this story follows the exact mistakes as when I read If I Ran the Circus. What got more frustrating is I read these two books back to back and I felt like ripping my ear off by the end of this book. The illustrations are marvelous as always but the same issues I had with the other book popped up in this one.

We are introduced to Gerald McGrew who goes to the Zoo one day. He loves the Zoo and when he sees the Lions in a cage and a guard r
Mar 31, 2009 McLean rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While this book has some great flights of fancy and imagination, it suffers from a lack of any substance or focus to that. When you also add in that Seuss relies on some unfortunate racist caricatures for a few of his visual gags in this book, it is a hard book to recommend. Of interest to the Seuss completist, but by no means essential, and not quite something I'd feel comfortable reading to children.
Kristine Hansen
OK all the debating aside, I just didn't like this book all that much. To me it's just a long list of weird animals from places with funny names, coupled with the typical Seuss strange pictures. No real plot, just a collection of animals. At least when Seuss does something crazy like in Cat in the Hat, there's an underlying story behind all the crazy (messy things to do on a rainy day, coupled with the need to clean up very quickly).

I will admit the "eyes at a slant" threw me off and I had to s
Apr 11, 2013 Laura rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I like Dr. Seuss as much as the next guy, but boy howdy does this book have some problems.

First off, the whole premise of the book is upsetting. A little boy fantasizes about becoming the new zoo-keeper. He imagines capturing the most rare and unusual animals for his zoo, embarking on a hunting expedition to catch as many unusual animals as he can find. Then we start in with the racism. Specifically against Asian people.

"With helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant..." Yeeaaah... that's not
The "New Zoo, McGrew Zoo," is full of "the strangest odd creatures that ever did walk" - at least in the fantastic, boundless imagination of young Gerald McGrew and his creator, Dr. Seuss. I didn't remember having this one as a child, but we must have gotten it from the library at some point because the picture of him coaxing the "Natch/That no other hunter's been able to catch" seemed so familiar. This one has especially tongue-twisting wordplay. The racial insensitivity displayed startled me, ...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
Jun 19, 2011 Dirk Grobbelaar rated it really liked it
A delightful little book written by an author who is completely at ease with rhyming and making up words. Cool illustrations included. Fun for all!
Nov 03, 2014 Beth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If I ran the Zoo, I'd be a colonialist, too! The two Africans from the Island of Yerka look like the worst type of Jungle-Savage, with big round eyes, rings in noses, and large ears. Ouch. This comes after the page with the "helpers who wear they eyes at a slant", showing cringe-worthy Chink-type men carrying on their head a cage with a beast and the rifle holding boy. Also, some reviewers may have missed the Desert of Zind creature with the turbaned chieften. The boy narrator decides that he mi ...more
Anna Kļaviņa
I've heard Dr.Seuss is great children author and because of that I borrowed from library some of his books. And in the last few days I've read them to my cousin who loves Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! so much that we've bought it.

I wish I would have read this before reading to Kaito. I would have never chosen this book to read a loud to Asian/White child (I wouldn't choose this book for any child whatever race) . "helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant" it was like glass of cold
Setelah "If I ran the Circus", kali ini saya membaca "If I ran the Zoo" yang masih satu tema dengan buku yang pertama. Diceritakan disini, seorang anak kecil bernama Gerald McGrew yang pergi ke kebun binatang dan membayangkan, kalau dialah yang memiliki tempat itu, maka kebun binatang tentu tidak akan sebosan dan sekuno ini.

Maksudnya, McGrew akan memenuhi kebun binatang dengan binatang-binatang aneh dari seluruh dunia(yang benar-benar aneh dan nggak masuk akal), untuk ditempatkan di kebun binat
Nov 18, 2011 Lafcadio rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
There are many criticisms of the racial stereotypes in this book, but considering when it was written is useful in overcoming these.

The aspect of the book that I had trouble with is the general theme. The protagonist spends time imagining all the strange, rare creatures he will capture to live in his zoo, using all means of lures and/or force to get them. Clearly, he is removing (very rare, probably endangered) animals from their native homes simply for the viewing pleasure of his customers.

Jun 23, 2011 Cindi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is Dr. Seuss at his best; the imaginary beasts, imaginary places, and imaginary contraptions used to capture them are rhyming tongue-twisters. From the Mulligatawny captured in the Desert of Zind to the Tufted Mazurka captured on the African island of Yerka, each creature is more fantastic than the last. Even though many of the places where Gerald McGrew captures his wild beasts don't really exist, it would be fun to look at a globe and find places with strange names that do exist. And even
Joan Innes
Dr. Seuss, or, Theodore Seuss Geisel, has an immaculate sense of timing and cadence of words that transform words into a march of musical poetry. Once again, the story's main character, a young boy, has fabulous ideas of how he would transform the zoo where he the Zookeeper. As he views the zookeeper placidly standing next to a sleeping lion, the youngster begins to daydream of the far away lands and places he would go. In these lands, with complex apparatus, he would find and catch an assortmen ...more
Sep 30, 2015 Emma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-2015
I think we need a break from Dr. Seuss. My three year old gets very frustrated with the made up words and he's in his 'why' phase so it's frustrating for both of us when he's asking me, for example, why a gerkin has such a long neck. Uhhh... because Dr. Seuss is nuts?
Dec 06, 2011 Dominick rated it really liked it
Writing while cats rotate through one's lap is a challenge, and this book was in reach, so I whipped through it while having my lap warmed. It's not prime Seuss, but it's still a lot of fun. Its slightness is a function of the absence of anything in the way of real narrative--it's just a sequence of increasingly (more or less) whimsical animals our narrator, Gerald McGrew, imagines he'd have in the zoo if he ran the place. The real delight is in the illustrations themselves, which feature a rema ...more
Paula Alejandra Londono-Martinez
The narrator peevishly describes the animals and things he ambitions to get for his ideal zoo visualizing them from his own egocentric perspective. The world and its diversity are assumed as things to possess and modify for the sake of entertainment. The kid’s mindset and his whole emotional and physical system are driven by external motivations in order to gain confidence by means of others’ praises on his great achievement. His ambitions are characteristic of a monopolistic attitude.
Robert J
If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss is magically Seusslike. I read that Seuss was famous for his use of Anapestic Tetrameter which I had to look up. describes it as two unstressed syllables followed by a stressed sylable(an anapest)times 4, making it anapestic tetrameter. I can now see how that works in this book but honestly that new found knowledge didn't make me like the book any more than I already did. I guess it's kind of like understanding how a flower blooms which is great know ...more
Syndi Flores
Sep 17, 2014 Syndi Flores rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about Gerald McGrew. He arrives a the zoo only to imagine what his zoo would be like if he ran the zoo. As the story progresses, the more his imagination grows and more wild, never-before-heard-of animals will be present in the McGrew Zoo. For example, there will be an animal named bustard the only eats "custard mode of mustard." This example from the book shows that this book has many rhyming words throughout the story that help move along the story, like most Dr. Seuss stories. Th ...more
Apr 25, 2014 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A boy named McGrew lets his imagination run wild when imagining what it would be like if he ran the zoo. He comes up with so unique many creatures. I think everything in this book is a figment of McGrew’s imagination. He takes the basic structure of the zoo and uses his imagination to build on it, as well as taking on the role of Zookeeper when he sees the zookeeper. McGrew makes the zoo his own, transforming it into what he likes. In his zoo, the animals run wild among the people visiting the z ...more
Jacinda Castro
Gerald McGrew visits the zoo and, while admitting that it is quite great, he believes that if he were to run it he could make it even better. He then continues to describe the kinda of animals he would bring to the zoo, and once he's had every exotic animal he would have the best zoo everyone has seen.
As expected of a book from Dr. Seuss, it included many imaginary creatures, imaginary places, and crazy rhyming! Although not using many colors in the book Seuss still able a fun and creative sett
Belma Sarajlic
Oct 08, 2015 Belma Sarajlic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss is my first Challenged/Banned Picture Book. This book is about young Gerald McGrew who says that this zoo is a petty good zoo but it’s “awfully old-fashioned”; therefore, if he ran the zoo he would love to change it something new. Then Gerald McGrew imagines what kind of animals he would have in his zoo. In addition, he imagines how and from where he would get these animals into his zoo. Furthermore, Dr. Suess included strong art element that contains bright colors ...more
Caitlin E
This picture book tells the story Gerald McGrew and his quest to recruit new, Seuss-like animals for his Zoo. It is a fictional picture book written in the typical Dr. Seuss style.

An excerpt, "And, speaking of birds, there's the Russian Palooski, whose headski is redski and belly is blueski. I'll get one of them for my Zooski McGrewski."

As Gerald McGrew goes around the world to find these most unique and fanciful creatures, he encounters the people who live in these far off lands as well. If yo
ZaBeth  Marsh
I can see why this book won a Caldecott Honor in 1952. (Winner was Finders Keepers by Will and Nicholas in 1952.) Dr Seuss smartly picks the biggest word in our imagination "if" and let's his imagination take off. This book roars to children that there are no limits to what they can achieve "if" they dream it and work hard (Seuss makes several references to working so hard he'd never sleeps.) This Dr. Seuss classic encourages kids to learn about animals, geography, machinary, and different cultu ...more
Darby Allen
Nov 15, 2014 Darby Allen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
Summary: If I ran the zoo is the whimsical story of Gerald McGrew's dream zoo. While visiting the local zoo, Gerald dreams of all the changes he would make if he was the owner of the zoo. He would bring in imaginative creatures from far away lands that would make people come from all over to see his zoo. This is a fun, creative story that will have children's imaginations running wild.

Theme: Imagination, Leadership, Economics

Use in classroom: To use this book in the classroom, I would assign t
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Seuss Lovers: If I Ran the Zoo 1 1 Dec 06, 2012 06:43PM  
Riley Hoffart 2 5 Dec 08, 2011 11:34AM  
  • The Storm Book
  • Anatole and the Cat (Anatole, #2)
  • Fly High, Fly Low
  • Green Eyes (Family Storytime)
  • In the Forest
  • Marshmallow
  • A Very Special House
  • Ape in a Cape: An Alphabet of Odd Animals
  • Hide and Seek Fog
  • 1 Is One
  • Hildilid's Night
  • Alphabatics
  • Mice Twice
  • Wee Gillis
  • The Moon Jumpers
  • The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship
  • The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night
  • Drummer Hoff
Theodor Seuss Geisel was born 2 March 1904 in Springfield, MA. He graduated Dartmouth College in 1925, and proceeded on to Oxford University with the intent of acquiring a doctorate in literature. At Oxford he met Helen Palmer, who he wed in 1927. He returned from Europe in 1927, and began working for a magazine called Judge, the leading humor magazine in America at the time, submitting both carto ...more
More about Dr. Seuss...

Share This Book