CM March 15, 
1996. Vol. II, Number 22

image What's a Zoo Do?

Jonathan Webb.
Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1995. 90pp, paper, $18.95.
ISBN 1-55013-609-7. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Zoos-Juvenile literature.
Zoo animals-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 - 6 / Ages 8 - 11.
Review by Jane Robinson.

**1/2 /4


Zoos can't hope to save all the species that are endangered, but they can do a number of useful things. People working in zoos can study different animals to help discover what they need in order to survive. Zoos themselves can be used to demonstrate what wild animals are like. . . . Zoos can help people see how different all these animals are and how marvellous each one is in its own way, so they will want to do something to save the wilderness where the wild animals live. Finally, zoos can give money, supplies, and expert assistance to scientists and conservationists who are working to protect the wilderness.

image It's a little-known fact that zoos are probably the single most popular form of entertainment in the world. But author and zoo-champion Jonathan Webb believes more people visit zoos than go to theatres, cinemas, concerts, or baseball and football games. He has organized a behind-the-scenes trip to the zoo that begins with a historical perspective and brings the reader up to date about the functions, people, and animals of a zoo.

The table of contents dividing the book into six broad sections would not prove useful to a reader-researcher, but subheadings within each section organize the information into a comprehensive explanation of the inner workings of a zoo. (The information can also be located through an index.) Topics covered include: how zoos are designed; how zoos acquire and care for animals; and zoos' protective and scientific functions. Although Webb's style is suitably explanatory, a glossary would be helpful for elementary school readers.


Throughout the book, interesting facts and trivia are boxed and printed in boldface type to catch the reader's attention. These, and the abundance of interesting, attractive photographs make What's a Zoo Do? much more inviting. There are twenty black-and white, and thirty full-colour photographs, each accompanied by a detailed caption.

This book certainly has a place on the shelves of a zoo gift shop or a zoological society, but its usefulness to a school or public library will depend on budget and what is already present in their collection.

Recommended with reservations.

Jane Robinson is a teacher in Winnipeg.

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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364