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Color Zoo

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  3,007 ratings  ·  258 reviews
This acclaimed Caldecott Honor Book is a visually exciting introduction to colors, shapes, and animals for preschoolers.

"Boldly designed pages easily carry to the rear of the room during story hours, and brilliant juxtapositions of vibrant primary colors will make children's eyes tingle." (School Library Journal)

"A masterpiece of graphic design." (American Library Associat
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published April 4th 1989 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1989)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,007 ratings  ·  258 reviews

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A beginning board book for young children about shapes. This is very clever. She uses cutouts of the shapes and colors to create animals inside each shape and then we see the shape. She will use 3 pages at a time to create an animal face and then as you turn each page it changes and we see how the shapes do this. This is too young for my kids, but for the level this is going for, it’s a great book. Lois is very creative and I enjoyed it.

The nephew thought this was neat actually and he gave it 3
Imaginative and marvellously innovative, and as such Color Zoo is really also a wonderfully simple but totally fun introduction to colours, shapes and animal names for young children (and I can certainly understand and applaud the Caldecott Honour designation award to author/illustrator Lois Ehlert), mainly as a read aloud of course, but Color Zoo would naturally also be delightful and engaging for children to explore on their own, as it is just the right size for exploring and curious little ha ...more
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-book
I have fond memories of sharing this book with my children when they were babies. Ehlert was a favorite of ours. This is a fun book for little ones, discovering the shapes, and a pleasant one to read to them for adults with the bright pictures and beautiful colors.
Luisa Knight
I admit - I thought this book would be boring. But it was actually kind of fun to see the shapes turning into animals - very clever. Your kids will love learning shapes and colors with this.

Ages: 2 - 6

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading it!

Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all kids and animal lovers
Shelves: animals, kids-teens, cats
This is a fantastic work of art for all children! I am amazed by the way the author made one animal change into another through the use of a few lines! Great for color analysis by older children, as well, using the color chart near the end.
Torrie Wilson
Jun 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: shapes, colors
This book is fun to use in the classroom because the animals that are in the book are made out of shapes. The kids love to put the shapes together and see hoe the animals are made. I think this book is appealing to children because the shapes are cut out and not just on a paper. This way the students can use their touch and feel around the cut out of each shape.
Aug 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Watched on youtube. Exuberantly educational, and I *might* have enjoyed it as a child. But I'm not sure children can recognize the animals shown... - ? And I would have preferred that it stick to geometric shapes, as 'heart' is distracting and will not show up in class when the child is older.
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I remember reading this with my children when they are little. It's perfect for toddlers and preschoolers and introduces colors, shapes and animals. Bright, interactive and engaging.
Jessica Emly
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: concept-books
Color Zoo, by Lois Ehlert, is a creative book that introduces children to a variety of shapes and colors by using them to create animals. The thick and brightly colored pages feature cut-outs of shapes that allow one animal to transform seemingly into another with just the turning of a page. A tiger becomes a mouse and a goat becomes a snake, all by changing just one shape. Although there isn't much storyline to speak of, the book is a bold and engaging demonstration about the power of colors an ...more
Elizabeth Gonzalez
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the book because it introduces children to many educational information. The storyline of the book is about shapes and colors that form an animals in the zoo. The author uses the shapes to form a tiger on the first page then the next it shows you the tiger face that forms by a circle and it has a blue color to make the circle stick out the image the book goes on like that. At the end of the book all the shapes colors and animals are listed. The book is supporting linguistic skills and ey ...more
Morgan Courtney
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A great thing about color zoo, is it would be great in a younger classroom as a simple read aloud. The colors used are bright and easily identifiable, and there is nothing too harsh in detail that would be a distraction or would throw children off from the main focus in the book. Throughout the book, the illustrator uses one shape to make one animal and after every so many animals, has just a page with the shapes on them.
Although there is no use of pencil, or markers to draw these animals, the
Jordan Traen
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Color Zoo was a cute picture book typically meant for very young age children who are learning their colors and animals. With each turn of the page, a new animal and color appeared. I really liked that the shapes were actually cut out of the pages so a child should trace or feel the outlines of the shapes with their hands.

I think that this book would also be great for students who are ESL learners who are just beginning to learn English. This would be a great way for those kids to learn basic b
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great shape concept book utilizing die-cuts. I wasn't familiar with this older Ehlert title, which is like Go Away, Big Green Monster! crossed with My Heart Is Like a Zoo. Caldecott honor. ...more
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a unique educational book for very young children. The colors are very vivid and bright; the animals stylized. In the back of the book, after all the die-cut shapes, there is one page with each shape and its name; one page with each color and its name; and one page with each stylized animal and its name. Very useful.
Victoria Nesselroad
In this book it is about shapes and colors in the zoo near you and it shows you a lot of things that you can do. It even talks about different parts like heads and wars. Then it tells you what kind of noise that the animal makes.

I would use it to draw your own animal or just to talk about zoo animal that are at a zoo and see what the kids like the most and make them draw it or something.
Viviane Elbee
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This would be a great book to use for art activities because it shows how to draw different animals using simple shapes.

It is not a story - it’s a shape (and animal) concept book. Appropriate for babies and toddlers, it could also be used in preschool & elementary for art & craft activity inspiration.

Very quick read that the kids enjoyed.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
A very nice book that helps children learn their colors and shapes while learning about how those shapes can make up the faces of different creatures. This book is great for budding artists since it helps them see how shapes can combine to make more complex pictures. There isn't much to actually read, but it is fun to look at.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids, storytime
This book is brilliantly created! No story at all, but the kiddos were fascinated by the changing shapes and colors and how they created new animals. Kinda reminded me of "Go Away, Big Green Monster" in the way the cut-outs changed the picture on every page. Excellent choice for one-on-one exploration of colors, shapes, or animals. Highly recommended.
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecott
1990 Caldecott Honor - Favorite Illustration: The snake hexagon page - so fun!
A very simple book about the concepts of colors and shapes, but presented in a fun way - using shapes to build different animals. This would be a great book to use for toddlers and preschoolers!
Anne Miranda
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lois Ehlert was represented by Kirchoff/Wohlberg, where my mother was managing editor. I got to see this book in dummy form before it was published, which was a huge life-time treat. It's a brilliantly designed book and it's no wonder everyone loves it. A must have for early readers.
Mar 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Colorful and imaginative book for babies and toddlers.
Kaethe Douglas
Sep 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Yeah, anyone can draw a cute cartoonish character, but it takes genius to put together a board book like this. The bright colors, the geometric shapes, the simple graphic animals. Love it!
Shawn Deal
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Here is a fun, creative book showing kids how you can make pictures of animals using collars and basic geocentric shapes. Would be very great to use in a young persons art lesson.
Sep 02, 2020 rated it liked it
I used this book for our kindergarten study of goats. Each page is of an animal using only true shapes- like the goat is made of an octagon, hexagon, triangle, & circles. We then did an art project of creating our own goat on paper using a triangle, semi-circles, & circles. The book made for a good tool. ...more
Gabi Loveday
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: exam-2
From the outside, _Color Zoo_ appears to be a simple picture book for very young readers, but after opening its pages, I found that it was far more complex and engaging than I expected it to be. I loved that Ehlert took simple shapes and arranged them to create more complex figures like animals, and this certainly seemed like a book I would have loved to had as a child with its bright colors and artwork. This book, which won a Caldecott Honor in 1990, is absolutely perfect for children starting ...more
Angelina Cicero
Sep 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert is one of the best learning books I have come across! This award winning book takes children's love for animals and makes it educational. This book supports linguistic skills and eye coordination because the children need to look at the illustrations closely and think. Ehlert makes the setting for this book inside a zoo, where it introduces colors and shapes. I love how the Typography in the book done by Betty Rossner is big and bold. That font really stands out to the r ...more
Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their young children
Fun book for younger children that combines vibrant colors and shape cutouts to create images of animals. It's a short, entertaining book, but many of the animals are a bit abstract and would likely be hard for a younger child to identify.

I can see the appeal of this book, but I prefer the cutout shapes and bright colors featured in Ed Emberley's Go Away, Big Green Monster! much better.

This book was selected as one of the books for the August 2016- Caldecott Honor discussion at the Picture-Book
Carly Jones
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This concept book discussing shapes, colors, and numbers was so much fun to read. Ehlert uses vibrant, neon colors and different shapes on each page to show individual aspects that come together to create a different picture. What is best about this book is its ability to use its subject to teach how perspective can change depending on the point of view, which means I think it could work for a variety of ages. It seems a little advanced for younger children, but it has enough to look at it that ...more
Reham Alfaraj
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is ingenious in the way the author uses cut-outs to form shapes of different animals and then builds upon those primary shapes (starts out with circles, square, triangle) by using more complex shapes (hexagon, rectangle, etc.) to form images of other animals, while reinforcing the shapes used to form the animal image from the previous page. It is a great book for learning about shapes, colors and animals. The cut-outs in the pages that change the animal shown on each page are really cl ...more
Feb 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book was not my favorite as far as concept books go. It is very simple and very bright almost too bright. The book introduces shapes in the form of animals which to me could be distrating because all kids love animals and would be more interested in the animals instead of learning the shapes that the book is trying to introduce/teach. This is a board book so the children can touch and feel the different shapes and animals since each shape and animal is created by cut outs in the pages. This ...more
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Lois Ehlert has created numerous inventive, celebrated, and bestselling picture books, including Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Holey Moley, The Scraps Book, Mice, Ten Little Caterpillars, RRRalph, Lots of Spots, Boo to You!, Leaf Man, Waiting for Wings, Planting a Rainbow, Growing Vegetable Soup, and Color Zoo, which received a Caldecott Honor. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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