Marvelous Kid’s Book: Carolyn Leilogou and “Noah Green: Junior Zoo Keeper”

Marvelous Kid’s Book: Carolyn Leilogou and “Noah Green: Junior Zoo Keeper” March 24, 2019

My children loved animals, loved exotic animals, and often wished to have such jolly friends as pets.

Well, no, but still the desire was natural, harkening back to Eden. For all their problems, zoos are natural to humanity as we long for a day when we can live in peace with our fellow creatures. Humans are by power, rulers of creation, but we naturally love our fellow creatures. We are animals, even if also immortal souls.

As a result, we cannot just “use” animals as we do minerals. We worry about even the circus or the zoo. What to do? The circus has not found a way to survive our worries, but zoos have. They have become habitats to help our fellow animals survive the mistakes we make as conservators of this blue planet.

Carolyn Leilogou is creating a series about a bright girl (Noah Green! Junior Zookeeper!) who reminds me of my own sons and daughters. She is curious, even a bit more so than her parents, and eager to make animal friends.

All that fit our family perfectly and I am guessing will fit your own brood of younglings!

There are good lessons in the book about the relationship between people and wildlife, conservation and grifters who sell exotics for profit. None of these lessons (needful truths!)  ruin the story and that is a miracle. This is not one of those “very special episodes” of a series that are all preaching and no plot. Instead, this is a story about a girl who wants a pet, learns what it takes to be a good caregiver to a furry friend, and learns that you cannot get everything you want.

If Noah’s parents are a bit too dim, the author notes this and points out (rightly) that this advances the plot. No spoilers, but the ending will satisfy the pre-teen in anyone with a heart and a mind.

The first chapter books that a child reads often choose between heart and head with the mind coming up short. We follow our hearts in most books with plots. If I wish I could, then I should. This is a book that deals with desire sensibly. The child wishes for a pet, lacks the maturity to raise a dog, and discovers (that for now) she cannot get what she wishes. Reason governs desire.

Thanks be to God, anyone raised on such literature will not view either desire or reason with suspicion. Imagine a generation that gave priority to reason while being honest about wishes. That is a beautiful world. The plot is a dialectic between what we wish could be and what must be and that is a rare delight in a book at this level. 

Illustrations do not count in a chapter book as much as a board book, but still matter. The young reader still studies the illustrations for guides to what she is reading in the text. The first time we read a book broken into chapters, the illustrations keep us going. The drawings act as signposts to what we have read and to what might be coming. The cheerful black and white illustrations in the book do this well. They provide continuity and a tip off that (just maybe) the creature in question is not a dog!

Take and Read.

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