Fiona Goes to School

Zonderkidz. (I Can Read 1). May 2022. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780310754961; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9780310754831.
K-Gr 2–This book for emerging readers features an anthropomorphized version of Fiona, the famous baby hippo from the Cincinnati Zoo. When Fiona sees school children on field trips at the zoo, she and her animal friends decide it would be fun to start a zoo school. After some disagreement about what the curriculum should include, the animals create a rotation for each animal to teach about their own species. This is a Level 1 “I Can Read” title, with simple text and few short sentences per page. Fiona and her friends are portrayed in watercolor-style illustrations. The animals are endearing, with expressive faces and bright colors. However, the two shades of gray and pink used for the skin of Fiona and her mother gives them a somewhat rubberlike appearance that doesn’t fit with the rest of the illustrations. Some animals, like Fiona and Kris the Cheetah, have names, while others are simply called Giraffe or Monkey. Still, this book presents a positive view of school and of the importance of learning about others. These solid messages, along with the winsome characters, will make the book popular with beginning readers, especially those already familiar with the real Fiona.
VERDICT Along with the other books in the series, a worthwhile addition to early reader collections.

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