- Craig Graziano
"Pssst!" is what a young girl at the zoo hears as she walks by each animal enclosure. They all want her to bring them increasingly outrageous and seemingly random items.
Sure, the gorilla's swing is broken, so a new tire does not seem that out of the question. And maybe bicycle helmets would be a good investment for a slipping sloth. But the turkeys don't want to eat the corn they ask for— they want to turn it into ethanol. Our young heroine is going to have a hard time meeting all of these demands.
Adam Rex makes picture books unlike any other artist out there, and Pssst! is the proof. Rex plays with artistic styles, mediums, and lettering. All of this adds to the strangeness of our protagonist's quest.
It also adds to the sheer density of jokes throughout the book. Encountering a rhinocerous in a giant clear ball usually meant for hamster travel does not add to the plot by any means, but I hope that Rex was as delighted to draw it as I was to see it. That also goes for the hippopotamus hanging out in the bat cave. The images are whimsical and surreal, giving children a lot of opportunities to explore the strangest zoo in existence.
Rex has taken a nice story to center his book on and then let his imagination run in circles around it. Match it with zoo classics such as Good Night, Gorilla and A Sick Day for Amos McGee for a wild time!
So what is up with these demanding animals? What are they plotting? Who decided that a baboon and a tortoise can peacefully co-exist? Find out all of this and more in Pssst!