Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A Map to Zoo Fun: A Book for Kinley & Brooke


It was a roaring good time!

We met Jill and the girls at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita on March 5, the first day of their spring break. The last time we were there, Kinley was just a toddler, and Brooke hadn't made her appearance in the world yet. (Kinley was the reporter for the day on the blog post here.)

I've written several books for the girls through the years. I did the first version of a farm ABC book while Jill was still pregnant with Kinley and gave it to her at a shower. I added a farm counting book to the mix a few years later. 

But I've also done several books based on day trips we've taken together - to Rolling Hills Refuge near Salina, to Exploration Place at Wichita, to a horse farm and the Sternberg Museum at Hays, Tanganyika Wildlife Park and the Kansas State Fair. I've also done a couple from their visits to the farm, including wheat harvest and a solo visit from Brooke when Kinley was with her Ladd grandparents and cousin. When I started digging through the book shelves, I discovered 9 books! Most of them are done in rhyme, and all feature my photography.

When we were in Topeka at Easter time, Brooke brought me a couple of "our" books to read - the farm counting book and Zoobilation, a book from our Rolling Hills Zoo visit. She made my day!

As she cuddled on my lap, she asked, "Grandma, are you going to write a book about the Wichita zoo?"

Well, at the time, it wasn't in the works. I'd been in charge of a 100-year celebration for my PEO group, and I'd done a 26-page book for that, too. 

Cover of the PEO book

March also brought several extra days of cattle work. But how could I refuse that request? I'd certainly taken plenty of photos. And when a little girl asks so beseechingly right after wanting to read together? It didn't take much convincing!

So, a week or so later, I hit "publish" on A Zoo Map to Fun with Kinley & Brooke. In addition to my verses, I added some facts from the Sedgwick County Zoo website. The girls love the behind-the-scenes TV shows about zoos and the people who care for the animals, and I figured a few facts might make it more interesting for Kinley, too. (She also reads the National Geographic Junior magazine cover to cover.)

To read the 20 pages, you'll probably have to pull up each photo separately. It shows each individual page. The completed book hasn't arrived yet. I can hardly wait to share it with the girls!

Front cover





Back cover


  1. Oh, I do love these and envy your talent with words. I've now made about 10 for Ben and Nora and they too love them. Our photographic book companies do special deals and with soft cover, 20 pages and postage, they each book only costs $8. I don't know how they can sell them at such a low price. Mind you, the postage to Canada for 500gms is $24. When my photos are finally sorted, the next book is 'Granny Climbing Mountains'

    1. I got to deliver the books over the weekend and read it to them in person. Brooke especially loved the sleepy bear photo! We had a good time talking about our favorite parts and memories of the zoo. I'm sure your grandchildren love them, too. It's definitely a labor of love!