The Way to the Zoo by John Burningham

The Way to the Zoo

Written by John Burningham
Illustrated by John Burningham

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Award-winning John Burningham tells a touching story of a little girl and the special friends she makes in the night time. When Sylvie finds a door in her bedroom she discovers a secret passage to her very own zoo full of the most wonderful animals. Every night Sylvie finds a new animal to take back to her room. The easiest to manage are small and cuddly, others, like the penguins who splash a lot in the bath, are too messy. The baby elephant is too big to get along the passage and the dog is too smelly to stay in Sylvie’s room. Every day when she goes to school, Sylvie makes sure the door is firmly shut. Until one day she forgets…


The Way to the Zoo by John Burningham

In her bedroom wall, Sylvie spots a door ...and beyond that door she finds a passage ...and beyond the passage she discovers ...the ZOO!

Where Sylvie finds LOTS of animals, looking at her!

So she decides to bring a few small ones, like a little bear, into her bedroom at night time, just for a cuddle. And then she takes the penguins back for a splashy bath. Once, she even brings back the monkeys but, really, they were too messy. No matter what Sylvie does though, she always makes sure to close the door in her bedroom wall. Until, one day, she forgets...John Burningham's much-celebrated storytelling and illustration will quickly draw readers into this riotous adventure that encapsulates brilliantly every child's wildest fantasy - a door in their own bedroom...that leads to the zoo!


Burningham is admired as a fearless original whose wit and sense of fun should be a part of every infancy. Amanda Craig, The Times

An utter delight. Marilyn Brocklehurst, The Bookseller

About the Author

John Burningham

John Burningham studied illustration and graphic design at the Central School of Art, graduating with distinction in 1959. Many illustration commissions followed including iconic posters for London Transport, before the publication of Borka: the Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers, John’s first book for children (Cape, 1963) which won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration and heralded the beginning of an extraordinary career. John Burningham has since written and illustrated over thirty picture books, that have been translated and distributed all over the world. These feature his classic and much loved children’s books including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Fleming (Jonathan Cape, 1964); Mr Gumpy’s Outing (Jonathan Cape, 1970) also awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal; Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne (Jonathan Cape, 1972); The Shopping Basket (Random House, 1980); The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (Penguin/Puffin, 1983); Granpa (Jonathan Cape, 1984) later made into an animated film and Oi! Get off our Train (Jonathan Cape, 1989) and various books for adults England (Jonathan Cape, 1992); France (Jonathan Cape, 1998); The Time of Your Life (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2002) and When We Were Young (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004).

Tug of War was republished in 2012, and a special edition of Borka, celebrating 50 years in print, was published in June 2013. Picnic appeared in the autumn of 2013 and The Way to the Zoo was published in the UK in 2014. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is celebrating its 50th year in print with a limited edition in hardback to be published in 2015.

John is married to the illustrator, Helen Oxenbury. They have three children, three grandchildren and a dog named Miles. They live in London.

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Book Info


40 pages
Interest Age: From 5


John Burningham
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Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

2nd April 2015




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