The Happy Hippo and the Selfish Shellfish, ‘Bishoo’ the dog who caught a cold and the handsome Leopard Slug, Lazy Daisy and the Freckled Girl are just some of the characters playing their part in this engaging collection of brand new poems for children.

 Zoooo… is a collection of 33 poems mostly about animals from around the world, sometimes amusing, at other times more serious and philosophical. As such, it is hoped that this book will inspire as well as provide food for thought for young people about the beauty and fragility of the natural world, and the interrelationships – sometimes complex – of living organisms.

Rita Mühlbauer is a professional artist internationally renowned for her skills as a natural history artist, more especially in portraying the diversity and fascination of the world’s wildlife. She has produced numerous illustrations over the years, including books for children, and has also travelled extensively in search of new subjects to draw and paint.


Author: Hugh David Loxdale (author), Rita Muehlbauer (illustrator)
Publisher: Brambleby Books
Year of Publication: 26 November 2012
Format and Pages: Hardback, 80pp, with b&w line drawings
ISBN: 978-1908241139
Retail Price: £9.99
Our Discount Price: £8.99

Sample text from Zoooo...

A Blackbird’s Feast

A Blackbird one day spied a worm

Which he saw wriggling in the grass.

“Why,” he asked, “is the worm

Disporting itself in the Sun?”

“Why,” asked the worm, “is that bird

Watching me with evil intent?”

Now though, the bird and the worm

Are united as one.



The Tiger,

Silent as a wraith,

Merges into the shadows

Of the jungle.

Is he there – or isn’t he?

Maybe it’s just the movement

Of a bird rustling the dry leaves…

Or perhaps the wind itself.

Who knows?…

Except the Peacock,

On a branch high up,

Who alone sees those wide paws

And sinuous body below the scrub;

Rust red and white,

The huge head with golden,

Piercing eyes


And a long swishing tail,

Periodically scaring the flies

That impudently try

And settle on its flanks.

The King – magnificent – rests now.

But soon, as the Sun rapidly sinks

Below the Western Horizon

And the tree frogs begin to croak,

He will be on the prowl,

Looking for a young, tender

Morsel – or two –

On which to feed.


The Leopard Slug

The Leopard Slug is very handsome,

Covered in smart black patches,

Yet, as every lettuce knows,

He very soon despatches.

So be wary of his stealth and cunning,

Especially if your beans are running,

Since he climbs up as well as prowls,

Though unlike the real leopard,

Seldom, if ever, growls.

The Happy Hippo

When is a Hippo happy?

This is a good question to ask;

They certainly like floating in water,

Or on sandbanks where they bask.

They also come on land at night

To graze the fresh green grass,

Yet rarely stay too long,

When the lions have finished their fast.

Perhaps they just like being lazy.

Lying around most of the time,

A habit they recommend

And to them, they find sublime.

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Reviews and readers' comments

This collection of poems sets out to provide real information about the natural world, fun and sheer enjoyment for children. There are jokes for both child and adult to share, such as 'The Adder' and the expression of brutal nature with 'A Blackbird's Feast'. Or, described succinctly in 'The Guinea Pig's Lot', the poet reminds children that around the world customs differ and sentimentality is absent. In many of the poems observations of nature are lightly but accurately described.

They are accompanied by delightful illustrations in black and white - notable and welcome difference from the multi-coloured pictures so often found in children's literature.

The eight/nine years old I shared these with laughed, asked questions and also simply enjoyed them. They would be a welcome addition to a classroom poetry shelf or a private child's collection.

Bernie Froggatt, Formerly Headteacher of an Infant School and School Inspector. 


My best poem was Selfish as a Shellfish, it had a good rithem. The picture that went with it was cool. My mark out of ten was ..... 10/10 out of the whole book! It was awsome and I think children will love this book. I love it.

Matilda  age 8


Zoooo… is a charming collection of poems about animals and plants from around the world, each supported by wonderful illustrations. The poems range from dark comedy through to informative and philosophical tones, all immensely engaging and accessible for readers of all ages. Reading as an anthology of the world around us Zoooo… provides new insights into well known and some lesser known creatures, providing information that even I was not aware of. The book opens new doors of interest and acts as a fun portal into exploring the world's natural history: my favourite being the Guinea Pig's Lot. Whilst Loxdale's poems could stand alone they are beautifully partnered with Mühlbauer's artwork, each sublime with hidden gems in each. I thoroughly recommend Zoooo… to anyone, child or adult alike,  with an interest in the natural world.

Jon Cracknell, Director of Animal Operations, Longleat Safari Park


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