This book by Michael Hall is one of our favorite finds from the library this summer, so much so that it’s made our “Must Buy” list. We are a family of animal-lovers, and the simple, vibrant graphics and rolicking verse make this book a real treat for all ages. It’s also an interactive book in the best sense – inspiring kids to use their imaginations to come up with all sorts of ways to arrange the ‘heart’ shape into artistic compositions, animal or otherwise. You don’t even have to have the book on hand to be inspired – just visit My Heart is Like a Zoo’s website to watch the animals come to life!
I’ve been waiting for a rainy day this summer to pull out my tall stack of colored paper (always sure to elicit “oooohs” and “aaaahs” from the kids) and hand them the scissors, re-reading My Heart is Like a Zoo aloud to remind them of the humor and cleverness of the artist:
“My heart is like a zoo … Brave as a lion, thoughtful as an owl, peaceful as a portly walrus lounging on a towel.”
Recalling the lesson learned from the toddler who would rather play with the empty birthday present box, sometimes the simplest projects are the most engaging. My kids, (even with 6 years between them) happily cut out shapes from colored paper and put them together in varying configurations for HOURS. At first we mimicked Michael Hall and limited ourselves to heart-shapes, but the kids, always more daring than I, soon began to cut out star shapes and jagged shapes and whatever else their imaginations could come up with.
My favorite surprise is a narrow, curvy Christmas tree topped with an enormous star that my eldest held out to show me in the palm of his hand, and the strikingly simple log-on-fire my youngest proudly presented to me – if I put them together we’ve created a lovely Christmas card to send out this year. For now we’ve arranged a rainy day gallery on our window ledge that adds a smiling spot of color to the view today – in fact I don’t mind the rain one bit!