When it comes to Mercer Mayer, I am a huge fan. With over 300 titles to his credit, his imagery is, in a word, amazing. The illustrations in his books are so vivid and colorful, you can’t help but be drawn into the story. Although I’m very familiar with his catalog of books, Professor Wormbog in Search for the Zipperump-a-Zoo is not a title that I was familiar with. It was originally published in 1976, but was re-released just two years ago, destined to become a favorite against a new crop of children.
Madeline and I have read the book several times over the last few weeks, and the storyline has a way of making something scary (monsters) seem not so scary after all. And if you have kids, you know that anything that takes the sting out of monsters is a pretty big deal. Professor Wormbog has amassed quite a collection of cute, loveable, and downright odd monsters, but he is still intent on finding the Zipperump-A-Zoo, the last, and quite elusive, monster for his alphabetical collection. You’ll have to read the book if you want to see if he’s successful or not.
Some of the phrasing and made-up words throughout the book remind me of the tongue twisting words that a Dr. Seuss book will throw out at you. Which I happen to like, because if you can’t escape into a world of made-up words and downright silliness in a children’s book, when can you? We loved the story, and the fantasy-like nature of the idea of collecting monsters, but we were a bit let-down with the ending (don’t want to spoil it for any of you). That being said, much like the illustrations in Maurice Sendak books, it’s worth a read and a serious look for the pictures and detail alone.