Zoo School (Hardcover) by by Laurie Miller Hornik; illustrated by Debbie Tilley. Clarion, 2004. ISBN: 0618342044. pp: 128 in 20 chapters.
Ages: 7-10, gr: 2-5



Readers follow the experiences of five of the students whose parents have enrolled them in the new Zoo School, where class meets, of course, at the zoo. Each of the five has a unique trait comtributing to apprehension about the new school, but that turns into a strength contributing to the success of the school. Three Learned Inspectors of New Schools (L.I.O.N.S) also have their doubts, but after deciding the school must be closed immediately, are won over (and will amuse any teacher-reader). "Let the animals be your text books," is the school’s motto. The classroom changes as different animals rotate in while their houses are cleaned. Classes also are conducted outside the classroom in different parts of the zoo.
This humorous school story laced with the flair of fantasy is a good read for days that seem monotonous.


  1. Select five of the zoo animals. On a world map, mark the territory where each of these animals would be found in the wild.

  2. Visit the Virtual Zoo. What is your favorite display? Why?

  3. The word hippopotamus has 3 letter p’s. Individually make a list of ten words that each have a letter that occurs three or more times. Copy the list leaving out that multiple letter. Exchange lists with a partner and identiify the missing letters.

  4. Make a three column chart. In the first column, list the student names Ursula, Kitty, Robin, Leo, Drake. In the second column, write a character trait that makes the reader think that the Zoo School is not a good idea for that student. In the third column, write how that trait helped the Zoo School to be a success.

  5. We don’t meet all of the students in the Zoo School. How many students were enrolled? Name and describe another student that you would add to the class. Make up a new situation at Zoo School and add your student character to the action.

  6. In what other unusual setting might Laurie Miller Hornik have a school? Describe some things that might happen there.

About the Author


Related books

Debbie Tilley also illustrated some of the Elisa books written by Johanna Hurwitz.

Johanna Hurwitz first wrote about Elisa’s older brother, Russell. These books are not illustrated by Debbie Tilley. The Russell series includes:

Suzy Kline has written two series starring Horrible Harry (grades 1-3) and starring Herby Jones (grades 3-5).


Zoo School. Accelerated Reader: Quiz #79502 EN; Book Level 4.6; Points= 4.0

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