Creative Commons/Stefan Magdalinski

Book Review:
Guess Who Books

I enjoy reading to my children, but I don’t always enjoy the books themselves. Of course, what matters most is that children love what they’re listening to. Still, it’s always nice when parents can join in the fun, too.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been reading the very delightful Guess Who series of books, by Howard Eisenberg, to my 5-year-old daughter, Makayla. It starts with Guess Who Zoo, a book in which animals tell their stories and kids guess their names.

A monkey has taken the zookeeper’s keys and let the animals out. The animals agree to return if the zookeeper can guess their names, which he already knows. But children love to play, so the monkey tells him to let the kids do they guessing and he’ll get his keys back. The reader turns the page and is treated to eleven engaging and creative stories that the animals tells about themselves and, as the title says, children listen and guess the names of the animals.


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The rhymes are witty and inventive. It’s not exactly Shel Silverstein or Dr. Seuss, but that’s the style I thought of when I started reading the book. That’s probably because just like those two masters of wordplay, Eisenberg uses whimsical language.

What I liked most about the Guess Who series is that it’s pretty easy for kids to guess, but they have to pay attention. The 2-6-year-old set is working on that skill and these books make it easy and enjoyable for them to do it. It builds on prior knowledge that all kids have and gives them a sense of accomplishment that they know more than they think they do. Makayla started off a little unsure that she could guess the answers, but it was gratifying for her to realize that she’s good at using her brain, as she tells me.

Here’s a sample from the book:

I look like a rabbit six feet tall.

I’m a great kick boxer. I kick. You fall

My joeys (well, babies) sleep in my pouch.

It’s soft and comfy as your mother’s couch.


My strong hind legs give me lots of power;

I can leap ten feet to nibble a flower.

I run as fast as a motor car;

Forty miles an hour can take me far.


Are you ready to guess?

Well, I’ve one more clue.

I come from Down Under

I’m a __________.

What was so neat about reading this particular page is that Makayla and I got into a conversation about Australia. I asked her if she knew what Down Under meant. She didn’t, so I explained and that got us talking about the continent. The reading was fun and educational and it led to both of us expanding our knowledge because Guess Who Zoo also has some interesting fun facts about the animals in the back of the book. For more of a treat, there is a Guess Who Zoo CD in which the animals sing their stories. It’s a fun addition to an already fun book.

The other books in the Guess Who series are Guess Who Farm and Guess Who Neighborhood. It’s the same idea, just a different setting that many kids will be familiar with.


Put the Guess Who series on your list of things to buy for the little ones in your life. You and your child will enjoy the entertainment and education.

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