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1, 2, 3 to the Zoo
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1, 2, 3 to the Zoo

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,474 Ratings  ·  153 Reviews
Joyously colored animals, riding on a train to the zoo, offer youngsters a first introduction to numbers, number sets, addition and counting in Eric Carle’s first picture book. A gate-fold spread at the back of the book, featuring the whole wonderful animal train, adds to the fun! Each car on the train has one more zoo animal than the one before, from the first car with an ...more
Board book, 20 pages
Published July 16th 1996 by Philomel Books (first published 1968)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Jan 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Carle builds a train page by page, number by number, with different animals on each car. The number of the page is represented at top left corner. At bottom margin (underneath track) is recap of what has already been built. A mouse visits each car. Final spread show all the animals at the zoo, and an empty train at the bottom. I am bemused by the number of reviews here complaining about the lack of text, as if no words makes it incomplete or not challenging for readers. It's called visual litera ...more
Meghan Klyczek
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: counting
This book is just adorable! I loved how it had no words in it and was strictly just pictures with a number in the top left hand corner. It was almost as if this book encouraged a non-reading student to go at their own pace through the book. Encouraging them too look at the illustration, then at the number, and making a connection between the actual number and the actual illustration. I really enjoyed the illustrations and how they almost looked water-color painted on the spread. I also thoroughl ...more
Samantha Mcdowell
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: counting
I thought this was a vibrantly colored counting book that is great for children. The book has no words, so it is perfect for children who can't quite read on their own yet. However, it is also great for a little bit older audience that is just learning numbers and how to count. Younger (pre-reading) children can enjoy the pictures of the animals riding the train to their new homes at the zoo and the slightly older children can count the animals as a new one gets added each time and follow the tr ...more
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: t-l-307
This is a great counting book for children. I would recommend this book for preschoolers. They can physically count the animals on the page to see how many there are. This is an age where things have to be fun, engaging, and intriguing and Eric Carle does a great job at maintaining all of those things in this children's book. In the pages, each car on the train has one more zoo animal than the page before did. The first is a car with one elephant and the last one is a car with ten birds. Some of ...more
Mar 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
We began today's story time with this book (only the first three pages). After singing the usual greeting song (The More We Get Together) and segue-to-theme song (Hello Everybody, Let's...)finishing with the phrase "count to three".

The first page features a train engine and coal car. "Who likes trains?" I asked to an enthusiastic crowd. I turned to the first page where an elephant is pictured on a flat-bed car. "I thought today we would tell the story about Goldilocks and the Elephant," I began.
Feb 26, 2017 added it
• Book title and author/illustrator
o 1, 2, 3 To The Zoo
o Written and Illustrated by Eric Carle
• Personal Response to Reviews:
1) Marilyn Courtot (Children’s Literature)
Hurry up and get aboard the train. A collection of animals ranging from one very large elephant to five pairs of birds is headed for the zoo. As each number and the corresponding number of animals is introduced, another car is added to the train running along the bottom of the page. Once at their destination, the cars are emptie
Shannon Futrell
The book is very colorful. It exemplifies numbers as pertaining to a train carrying animals to the zoo. This book can help children learn numbers. Children will like it because of the different animals.
This wouldn’t be a book I would keep in the classroom if I taught first graders or above. However, I could keep this in the classroom if I taught kindergarteners. I liked how towards the bottom of each page it added on to the train, this allows the reader to review what all they have read.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-children
A train takes animals to the zoo, with an increasing number on each car. It's set apart from other counting books by Carle's fun art and the lack of text, leaving it up to readers to create their own story.
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
What I love best about Eric Carle - wonderful illustrations and a simple story. This would be a fun counting book for storytime.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Colorful animals on a train on their way to the zoo help the reader with numbers. Wonderful Carle book.
Mar 13, 2017 added it
This book focuses on teaching children counting with illustrations.
Jennifer Martelon
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Title: 1, 2, 3, to the Zoo
Author: Eric Carle
Genre: Fiction, Children’s Literature
Themes: Counting
Opening line/sentence: 1
Brief Book Summary: 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo includes wordless pages of the colorful and eye catching illustrations done by Eric Carle. This book is about animals getting on the train in number order. For example, first we have one elephant get one then there is two hippos etc. This book introduces counting, numbers, addition, and subtraction to children.
Professional Re
Lindsey Duncan
This book only has numbers in it. I think it would be great to learn number and to ask questions about the animals.
Sierra Salyards
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title: 1,2,3 to the Zoo
Author: Eric Carle
Genre: counting book
Theme(s): counting, animals, sequencing
Opening line/sentence: n/a (wordless)
Brief Book Summary: (The book beings by showing readers a train. The next page shows an elephant in the train car and the number 1 in the corner, so that readers can see that there is 1 elephant. The train continues taking animals to the zoo, gathering up bears, monkeys, birds, and several others, all the while teaching young readers how to count from 1 to 10
Chloe Harding
Title: 1, 2, 3 to the Zoo
Author: Eric Carle
Illustrator: Eric Carle
Genre: Counting Book
Theme(s): Animals, Counting
Opening line/sentence: There are no words in this book. The first symbol to appear is the numeral 1.

Brief Book Summary:
The book begins with a picture of a train. The next page features one elephant. Each on the on the train has one more zoo animal that the previous car. The book comes to an end with the last car, which is filled with 10 birds. The last page is a picture of the whole
Brigid McMenamin
Jun 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Title: 1, 2, 3, To The Zoo A Counting Book
Author: Eric Carle
Genre: Counting
Theme: Counting, Animals, Zoo
Opening line/sentence:
1 (picture of an elephant)
Brief Book Summary:
Each page of the book displays a number and the same number of an animal to represent that riding on a train to the zoo. It starts with just one elephant and eventually gets to ten birds. The final page is a picture of the entire zoo once the train arrives.
Professional Recommendation/Review #1:
Marilyn Courtot (
Title: 123 to the Zoo
Author: Eric Carle
Genre: Counting Book
Theme: Animals, counting
Opening line: N/A (wordless)

1, 2, 3 To The Zoo is a wordless book about zoo animals ridding along a zoo train. Readers count the animals at the zoo and a little mouse is featured in every page giving the children an extra smile.

Professional Review #1:
Marilyn Courtot (CLCD) says, "Hurry up and get aboard the train. A collection of animals ranging from one very large elephant to five pairs of birds is heade
Feb 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
As always with Eric Carle, the illustrations are pretty and brightly colored. However, the content in this book is lacking. It's literally just cardinal numerals and pictures. No words. At the very least I would have liked to have seen the animals in the illustrations labeled. But many counting books at least try to make a story to go along with the numbers.
Lucy Hall
Title: 1 2 3 to the zoo
Author: Carle, Eric
Genre: Counting
Theme(s): animals
Brief Book Summary: (This is another classic from Eric Carle. The book is about a train carrying animals to the Zoo. First, the engine of the train is shown. Then one cart at a time is shown, starting from one animal, and going along up to ten animals. At the end, a big page opens showing all the animals together. )
Professional Recommendation/Review #1: (Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Hurry up and get aboard the tr
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: counting-book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Madelyn Skopak
Mar 29, 2015 rated it liked it
The picture book by Eric Carle is directed towards an audience of small children who are just starting to learn how to count. The book contains no words and only features pictures of animals on each page. Because the book is titled "1,2,3 To The Zoo" the book naturally takes place in a zoo. Every page contains a number and pictures the same number of animals. This goes on until the number ten is displayed and ten colorful birds are shown. After ten there is a larger page that displays all of the ...more
English 212
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paige-2015
Eric Carle is great at getting kids intrigued with his style of art. His books are a lot more simplistic than some of the other children's literature i have read so far. I think his books are meant for the very beginning basic reader to teach the most basic things such as letters and numbers but not necessarily a life lesson. I love that he does this like a train car with the different animals and that at the bottom of each page it has the previous pages animals in correct number and in their tr ...more
Aldon Rau
Few infants have had the opportunity to form opinions of their own on subjects such as art, literature, politics and the like. Parents have a marked tendency to take advantage of this naivete by emblazoning their small children with motifs denoting their own preferences. This is why I frequently find myself promoting some sort of star war (I can only guess at what might lie behind such a singular conflict), or presenting myself as as a "Dino Expert" (my shirt's words, not my own. I blush to thin ...more
Mama Bibliosoph
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo is in the animal train genre. Basically, the book shows the different cars of a train headed to the zoo that contain an (increasing) number of animals (to 10). The animals are standard zoo fare (1 elephant, 2 hippos, 3 giraffes, etc.). The number of animals does appear in the corner of each page, but other than that there is no text.

When the train reaches the zoo, the animals are seen in their enclosures in a pull-out illustrated map of the zoo (my least favorite book element,
Emily Egbers
Jan 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a good counting picture book for children learning their numbers and counting. Once again, Eric Carle did a terrific job on the illustrations! His technique used was watercoloring each animal to count from one to ten, counting up by one animal each page. The background is white to enhance the vivid colors of the animals and the illustrations are so large that they take up both pages. He created a train cart on each page with different animals for each number. The numbers are listed on th ...more
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: counting
I have always been a huge fan of Eric Carle's picture books."The Very Hungry Caterpillar," was one of my favorite books when I was a toddler, thus when I saw this picture book on the list I could not resist choosing it for my counting book! This picture book shows very colorful animals riding on a train to their new zoo. There are no words in this book, except for the numbers printed on the top left page. You would think that this would make it difficult for children to learn their numbers, but ...more
Evelyn Mauldin
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: math
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo provides simple text and attention-grabbing illustration to embed counting into story time. Each page has one number arranged in the corner, accompanied with the corresponding set of animals. A characteristic that I especially liked about this book was that at the bottom of each page, there was an ongoing list of animals that appeared in the previous pages. This is useful because it provides visual prompts for recall strategies. An instructor can help the child remember how ma ...more
We loved Carle's 1,2,3 to the zoo. However, this one didn't go over as well. It counts 1 to 10 using animals. I think what's tricky is that it counts cumulatively, so there's only ever one of each animal and the number shown is about the total. Addition is a good concept for children to learn, but I felt the counting in succession used in the zoo worked better for my son.

Also, the pull tab at the back is a really cool feature, but didn't hold up well. I've had to repair it with packing tape. It
Klaudia Maniakowska
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
The book is a concept picture book that aims at teaching how to count from 1 to 10. Storyline is quite simple: animals are riding on a train to the zoo. But story in only a device to represent the concept of numbers: on each page there is a different number presented, and different animals on a boxcar represent the given number. On the bottom of each page there is a kind of “preview” of all the boxcars that the readers have already saw, and the amount of the boxcars is always the same as the num ...more
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Eric Carle (born June 25, 1929) is a children's book author and illustrator, most famous for his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which has been translated into over 30 languages. Since The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969, Eric Carle has illustrated more than seventy books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote, and more than 71 million copies of his books have sold around ...more
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