By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal
If I’d had a copy of Pat Brannon’s “Quirky Kids’ Zoo” half a century ago, it would have made learning to count a lot more fun.
That’s no surprise. It’s what Brannon does best.
She writes books that not only entertain and capture young readers’ imaginations, but also help educate and mold characters.
She did it first in “Filthy Farley O’Charlie McBarley,” a delightful story of a third-grade boy whose outward appearance and not-so-pleasant odor make him the target of young bullies who taunt and tease him before learning an important lesson.
Brannon’s also taken her show on the road, talking to students of all ages about the evils of bullying.
In “Food Fight Frenzy,” Brannon teaches young readers that even in places like the school cafeteria, the world needs more leaders and fewer followers.
Kids (and adults) reading “Quirky Kids’ Zoo” will have their imaginations fueled by images of elephants engaged in a game of leap frog with tiny ants.
What a fun visual! And that would be true even if the elephants weren’t wearing polka-dot pants and the ants didn’t have crazy, colorful coiffures.
And folks, that covers only two pages of the book.
In Brannon’s zoo, nothing is “normal.” And that’s one of the things that makes her book so wonderful.
There are snoring gators, skating gorillas, sad and silent lions, waterskiing buffaloes, mountain climbing sea otters toting backpacks, and so many more amazing animals to make any reader’s journey through the zoo a quirky one.
And in addition to the fun Brannon’s words and Jimena Pinto-Kroujiline’s illustrations offer readers, they might just learn a lot about numbers.
Pinto-Kroujiline, of the United Kingdom, contacted Brannon through Facebook and told her she would love to illustrate one of her books.
“I loved her work,” Brannon said of Pinto-Kroujiline’s colorful illustrations.
For a decade, Brannon was a substitute teacher in grades K through 12 in Amory Public Schools. She makes her home in the Bigbee community near Amory.