The Zoo’s Annual Piggyback Race Written by Matt Harrigan and Illustrated by Melinda Beavers

The Zoo's Annual Piggyback RaceThe Zoo’s Annual Piggyback Race by Matt Harrigan and illustrated by Melinda Beavers.  Ages 2 – 5. Hedgebury. March 2013. 32 pages. Fiction. $6.99 ISBN:  978-0987343703

Quick Summary:  All the he zoo animals are ready for their annual piggyback race.  Of course you assume that the zebras or the tigers will definitely win because they’re fast.  Then you start to wonder, maybe it will be the turtle?  Because we all know the story of the tortoise and the hare.  The book defies common assumptions and the winner is a happy and fun surprise.  My husband and I had a good laugh when we found out who won and my son immediately wanted me to read the story to him again.  We highly recommend this book!

Our Experience Reading this Book:  This is such a fun book!  I enjoyed reading it to my son over and over.  It led to some great discussions about animals.  My son learned what the word catastrophe means in a clever and fun way.  We also had a good time talking about bears and honey and why the bees chased bears for eating their honey.  This book also introduced my son to what an ostrich is.  We’ve read about them before but this book made my son stop and ask me about them.  I’m always amazed at what kinds of conversations we have when we read a picture book.

The illustrations are beautifully done in colored pencil.  The illustrator, Melinda Beavers, has done a great job and the expressions on the animals’ faces are priceless.  The animals all look so friendly and sweet.  I’m also impressed with how she drew the animals giving each other piggyback rides.

The layout is well done with clean and clear images. The text has a great rhythm to it that my son really loved.  The ending is fun and brings the story to a satisfying close.

My son enjoyed this book a lot when I added sound effects.  When an animal slips or gets stuck I make a silly sound and that puts my son into a fit of giggles.  This is the first book we’ve read (out of thousands) that consistently makes my son laugh out loud when we read it.  There are fewer sounds I enjoy hearing more than hearing my son giggle.  It has become a go-to book for turning my grumpy toddler into a giggly one.  There aren’t any sound effects written into the story, so just make up your own.

This book is the first book published by a new children’s book publisher:  I’m impressed and looking forward to seeing more of their books.  I hope you get a chance to check it out!

FTC Disclosures: I received a review copy from the author.  No other compensation was received.  The opinions expressed here are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” If you click on the link and purchase the book, I will receive an affiliate commission.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author/Illustrator Websites:

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    • Your site looks fantastic! I love it! Sorry to hear that your kids have been sick. We’ve been fighting “the crud” here.

      I hope you’re all feeling better. 🙂

      The book is good times. My son is still having me read it to him every day.


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