Well, the odds of seeing all the animals named in Stacy Gabel’s single, “At the Zoo-oo-oo” are good because she’s asking kids if they see these various critters at a zoo. Kids that spot any of these on a city street, however, might get a whole lot more credit. Then again, Gabel is extolling all the cool creatures one can see at a zoo, so the point about seeing any of these in a cosmopolitan setting is probably moot. Ultimately, this is a fun song to sing while visiting any local animal collection.
The track is an upbeat work, put to a bouncy acoustic guitar groove. Gabel sings it with a sparkly vocal tone, which is sure to capture young ears’ attention. She has one of those grade schoolteacher sorts of voices that turns picking out various creatures into a fun exercise. The first animal she asks for visual verification on is a giraffe. That’s always a good start because giraffes are especially tall. If you’re on a zoo field trip and you pass the giraffe area and DON’T notice those spotted, longnecked beings, well, you’re not paying very good attention. However, this is likely not just any zoo because Gabel asks if the young ones can see a giraffe “floating on a raft.” That would need to be one especially long raft, for sure. Giraffes don’t often take to water, one would assume, unless they are quite thirsty. Therefore, this would be quite a sight to see, indeed.
The song’s chorus brings in children to sing along with Gabel on a simple repeated lines. Next, Gabel asks if anyone sees a friendly frog. These lines are accompanied by friendly frog croaking sound effects. Our frog friend is hopping on a log, which makes a lot more logical sense than a giraffe on a raft. (Of course, ‘raft’ rhymes with ‘giraffe,’ which likely explains this couplet’s inspiration). That said, though, our frog friends have been known to hop happily, so a frog hopping on a log is to be expected. However, I don’t recall seeing frogs at the zoo. They’re the kinds of little hoppers even city folk might see in their neighborhoods.
The next creature sung about is a pot belly big. This little curly tailed being is doing a jig. Pot belly pigs dance? Well, at this zoo they most certainly do. One might also expect that such moves would throw around a pig’s bad smell, so kiddos might look but not get too close to touch. Next comes a porcupine. This animal is “prickly” Gabel warns us (and the kids), which makes it yet another one to steer clear of.
It all adds up to an enjoyable, animal-centric song for curious little ones. Is it as good as an actual trip to the zoo? Of course not! Nothing can replace the joys of seeing wild (and mild) animals up close. However, this song does the zoo one better by encouraging children to use their imaginations. They can picture these animals – sometimes in unusual circumstances –which is far more educational. Best yet, though, would be to have a class sing this song together while actually visiting a zoo.