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If I Ran the Zoo
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If I Ran the Zoo

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  7,981 ratings  ·  403 reviews
Welcome to the crazy world of Gerald McGrew who dreams of transforming his local zoo into a madcap menagerie of weird and wonderful beasts.

By combining the funniest stories, craziest creatures, and zaniest pictures with his unique blend of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, Dr Seuss helps children of all ages and abilities learn to read.
Paperback, 64 pages
Published August 4th 2003 by Harper Collins (first published October 12th 1950)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,981 ratings  ·  403 reviews

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Apr 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-story, humor
Quite a ride in a zoo!


But if I ran the zoo,

Said young Gerald McGrew,

I’d make a few changes.

That’s just what I’d do…

It’s a wonderful tale about a young kid imagining what kind of animals,...

...from every strange and oddball places around the world,...

...he’d bring to the zoo and it that way to attract more audience to it.

Illustrates quite well, again, the theme of “Dream Bigger”, but...

...again, the ending (I won’t tell! Don't worry!) is kinda anti-climatic for my par
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s nice to have a zany sense of humour - most of the time!

Dr. Seuss, of course, was a master of zaniness. And If I Ran the Zoo takes Zany to new limits.

In it, a little kid named McGrew dreams of turning the town zoo into a home for mythical, magical beasts - who become more and more weird with each turning page.

Now I know why I always had an off-the-wall sense of humour!

Too much Dr. Seuss did it - back in those dreary and repressive 1950’s. I was like a tot who’s always high on sugar!

In later
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who doesn't love Dr. Seuss, with his nonsensical words and lovable creatures? This was an adorable story of what a boy imagines he would put in his zoo if it were his, to make it the best zoo in the world. One of a kind creatures, he reasons would surely draw customers and they would be awed at his skill of obtaining (by himself) these hard to find animals from far off places.
We liked this very much, and had many laughs with the story and pictures.
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
[Shai] Bibliophage
Dr. Seuss' famous trademark for his children's book are the rhyming and made-up words, which I have enjoyed in this tale. Once more, he showcased how a child's imagination is immense just like how creative Gerald McGrew is in the story.
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
Probably the only Suess book I’ve read that just... doesn’t work?

Reading these rhymes out loud was difficult, and not in a fun way. The sentences were way too long and stretched oddly to make them rhyme. It just didn’t flow well?

But the worst part is the casual racism? While imagining capturing dozens of fictional animals for his zoo, a little boy just mentions “helpers with their eyes all at a slant” and casually jokes about bringing one back too??? It was gross
Jan 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it did not like it
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.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Probably would've been a higher rating if it hadn't been for some of the racial slurs. Oh well.
Mar 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Shannon by: Mike
This was just about the best gol-darndest book ever! ;)
Mark André
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy, humor
But if I ran the zoo,
Said young Gerald McGrew,
I'd make a few changes.
That's just what I'd do ...

First published in 1950, the title enters popular culture's
lexicon as a hip motto for a generation of office workers.
Sep 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dirk Grobbelaar
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!
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
PS 2019 (Advanced): A book that has inspired a common phrase or idiom ("nerd")
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
Kristine Hansen
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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
Puri Kencana Putri
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dr. Seuss never fails to please us with his imagination. I got quite a day in the office and reading Dr. Seuss stuff could cheer up the atmosphere. The story about Gerald McGrew, his dreamt and wacky imagination if he could have a zoo one day, then he would make a few changes, brought a rare obsk (such a weird bird with long neck) to live with the zoo.

Well, one must never get old to re-reading Dr. Seuss' masterpiece, right?
Elizabeth Kneip
Jun 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Who doesn't love a good Dr. Seuss book?! At first, I had trouble understanding why this book was banned. It is so fun and the rhyming makes it interesting for readers. After reading it one time through, it was apparent that Gerald hunting these wild animals and taking them out of their natural habitat was the issue. Since the animals are not pictured in a sad way, it was hard to realize why this book was banned. Recently in classes and on social media I have heard/read a ton about endangered ani ...more
Teegan Hite
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
If I Ran the Zoo, by Dr. Seuss is about a young boy named Gerald McGrew, who imagines what it would be like if he had his own zoo. Throughout the book he lists all of the unique animals he would have in his zoo and where he would get them from. This book is a picture book and meant for a younger audience, but I still found it as a fun book to read. As with most of Dr. Seuss's books, I enjoyed the rhyming and creativity in this book.
However, this book is considered a controversial or challenged b
Emily Mote
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 21-30
Summary: Gerald McGrew has a fantasy of turning the zoo into a place of amazingly unique creatures. He lets his imagination run wild and shares exactly how the zoo would be if he were in charge.

Teaching Ideas: I would use this book as a way to introduce poetry to the students. I would have the students read this book as a class, and then would have them write their own short poem about what they would do if they were in charge of the zoo.

Evaluation: I think this book contains a cute story line.
Noelle Strait
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although this book is a mostly-lighthearted, imaginative tale, it is highly criticized for some racist images and phrases. Many children grow up reading Dr. Seuss tales because they are always creative and spark imagination. Other than the handful of questionable racist remarks, this book is a goofy tale filled with lots of wild and imaginative animals.
However, African tribes-people are portrayed black as charcoal with little grass skirts, and a middle-eastern is portrayed with a turban, fleein
Leland T-Money Fortier
When I was in school and I made up words I was penalized. But apparently that is what made Dr. Seuss famous. Its one thing to make up words to create a new world, its another thing to do it because you couldn't find better words to use.

Oct 22, 2017 added it
Shelves: read-3090-21-30

Summary: This book tells the story of Young Gerald McGrew and what would happen if he got the chance to run the zoo.

Evaluation: This book is very funny and had some wonderful illustrations. The text only took up a little of the page and was often over a picture. I liked how this book focused on the pictures. It was a fun book that had some interesting vocabulary words.

Teaching Ideas: I would use this book when I was introducing poetry to the students. I would read the book to them a

Ryan Madman Reads & Rocks
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lions and tigers and imaginary creatures! Oh my!
My complete review is at:
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Seuss Lovers: If I Ran the Zoo 1 1 Dec 06, 2012 06:43PM  
Riley Hoffart 2 5 Dec 08, 2011 11:34AM  
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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