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Zoo City

Eliza's first trip to the zoo leads her to find new joy in the animals she and her mother encounters on their journeys through the city.

Photo of DeletedUser
5 1

Written by DeletedUser

Eliza’s so excited!

It’s her first trip to the zoo.

She’s never ever been before,

And everything’s brand new.

There’s crazy colored parrots.

There’s lions, snakes, and sheep.

The whole adventure tires her out.

Eliza falls asleep.

When she wakes, she sees no animals

No feathers, fur, or scales.

And Eliza misses them so much,

She sits in bed and wails.

Eliza’s mother takes her out

To walk around the town.

They watch the city lights go up

Just as the sun goes down.

A squirrel jumps across their path.

A bird swoops through the air.

And suddenly Eliza sees:

The zoo is everywhere!

She wakes to see the pigeons

Cooing on the windowsill.

And walks slowly on the sidewalk

To watch out for anthills.

At a picnic with her mother

She feeds chipmunks in the park

And fireflies on the walk home

Light their way through the dark.

At home, Eliza’s mother

Puts her sleeping child to bed.

With a zoo of city animals

Dancing through her head.

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

I wanted to create a story that took an interest in the animals that we see every day in the city, that we often take for granted.

Share your suggested book title

Zoo City

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

I created a story using the Milestones of Early Literacy Development in the Pediatric Care Center Childhood Literacy and Development resources. I tried to focus on simple language and rhyme to engage children with the material, and included animal names that will work with accompanying illustrations to attach a name to a picture. This method can be used by caregivers to help children learn how to name objects, and to engage with animals they see in their own neighborhoods.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

I would love to encourage an appreciation of urban wildlife, which is often passed over in educational material and stories about animals. Especially having spent a lot of time in a city environment, I am aware of just how much nature is overlooked. My goal is to have caregivers and children able to interact with familiar animals in a new light.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City


Website URL (optional question)

Tell us more about you / your team

I am a writer/illustrator specializing in scientific illustration. I try to impart the bizarre wonder of nature in all my work.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

These are a few of my illustrations that I feel demonstrate the bright colors and joy I want from the book.

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

Comman-deer in Chief, New Gnu

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists


Join the conversation:

Photo of LucyP Liu

I also like your clean and bright illustration.

Photo of LucyP Liu

Hi Quinn,
I think it is always a pity we are not able to see wild animals in unban area.
But your story gives the chance for kids to see them by books.
Thank you sharing.

Photo of Jennifer Buis

Nice job! I really like how you encourage looking for animals even when we aren't at the zoo! Fun to read and sweet ending! Best wishes!

Photo of Rebecca Kerbyson

Hi Quinn, I enjoyed your story! As you proved through simple and entertaining text, zoos are everywhere.

Photo of Dawnnbooks .

Good luck to us all.