July 19 – It’s National Zookeepers Week


About the Holiday

Every year more than 180 million people visit zoos and aquariums in the United States. Caring for the animals that live in these zoological parks, maintaining the facilities, and educating guests about the scientific facts and personal stories of the animals under their care is more than just a profession for zoo keepers—it’s a passion! Today’s holiday raises awareness of the day-to-day work of zoo keepers who protect and preserve the world’s species.

The Opposite Zoo

By Il Sung Na


The Dark of twilight has descended on the Opposite Zoo and all the visitors are gone. But the clever monkey finds his door Open! He creeps out to explore the zoo by night. Two animals sit amid the tree tops. The owl is Awake, while the panda hangs suspended in the branches, Asleep. The lion, having a final stretch before snoozing, is Hairy, but the hippo taking a late dip is Bald.


Image copyright Il Sung Na, courtesy of ilsungna.com

The Tall giraffe, munching leaves, towers over the trees as well as the Short pig who is feeding her piglets. The monkey plays peek-a-boo with a Shy iguana as it climbs a rock to watch the Bold peacock fan his beautiful tail feathers.

The tiger, with his Soft fur, is intrigued by the Prickly hedgehog, and the Black seals frolic in the pond while the White swans float majestically above. The monkey then hitches a ride on the tail of a Fast cheetah, leaving the Slow sloth to meander on its way. Oh those Noisy monkeys! Are they bothering the Quiet turtle?


Image copyright Il Sung Na, courtesy of ilsungna.com

The prowling monkey has had a long night of fun, but now the sun is Bright. He hurries back to his tree just in time for his door to Close—because now the Opposite Zoo is Open!

The Opposite Zoo combines several concepts—opposites, animals, and a search-and-find element—into a fun romp for young readers. The story is appropriately simple and serves as the frame for Il Sung Na’s stunning paintings: The fiery lion, tiger, and cheetah crackle with orange energy. The owl is a midnight blue tapestry, and the peacock’s tail is as graceful and intricate as a fine Asian fan. Na’s vibrant colors are set against delicate, softly hued backgrounds. Readers will love following the silly monkey through each picture and pointing out his shenanigans.

The Opposite Zoo is a wonderful choice as a new baby gift or for youngest children’s libraries.

Ages birth – 5


Image copyright Il Sung Na, courtesy of ilsungna.com

Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2016 | ISBN 978-0553511277

View more artwork and books by Il Sung Na on his website!

National Zoo Keepers Week Activity


Opposites Attract Crossword Puzzle


Some words go hand in hand even though they’re different. Find the words that make pairs fill in the blanks of this printable Opposites Attract Crossword Puzzle

Please leave a comment - I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s