King of the Zoo

illus. by Jackie Urbanovic. 40p. Scholastic/Orchard. Aug. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-545-46182-5.
PreS-Gr 2—If the lion is the king of the jungle, who is the king of the zoo? Carlos believes that he is. However, the rest of the animals have other ideas. Is the kangaroo king of the zoo? Monkey? Elephant? Not according to this chameleon. There is room for only one king. "Me! That's who!" an unhappy Carlos grumbles. But maybe he needs to learn a lesson about what makes a true king. Readers will admire Urbanovic's playful illustrations and her affinity for comical animals. However, the story is a tad disappointing. While the colorful chameleon may amuse readers with his replication of each of the animal's colors and patterns, he isn't quite endearing. In fact, it's his two sidekicks who really steal his thunder. Also, the story about an individual who must always be the best and brightest until he learns humility is a tired one and falls short here. An optional purchase.—Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OH

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