After counting all the hearts in the animals in My Heart is Like a Zoo, we had to try our hand at making our own heart animals. Strawberry also made her own blue shape monster.My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall was an interactive picture book for us, just the way a picture book preschool lesson should be. The author, who is a graphic designer, has created a zoo full of animals, each one created using hearts of all sizes. The text provides similes comparing ones’ heart to the animals (such as “eager as a beaver”). Strawberry loved counting the hearts on each page, and we made our own heart animals. Her favorite page in the book is the hippos drinking apple juice.

The main activity in this book relates to the dominant shape, the heart. Apart from a few circles for eyes, the animals in Mr. Hall’s picture book are all created by hearts. We found the hearts in the pictures and counted them. This led to comparing the animals. Which had more hearts, the lion or the caterpillar? Which animal had the fewest hearts?

Then, given the interactive back cover (which shows just how Mr. Hall created the heart lion), of course we needed to create our own heart animals.

Following directions to make our own heart animals helped us think creatively about the shapes of animals. Plus, it was a lot of fun!

The hardest part was cutting hearts in all shapes and sizes and colors. But it was a lot of fun to follow the picture book’s ideas and create similar animals with the hearts. Some were more complicated than others, but all were a lot of fun to figure out and see as an end result.

Of course, after we put them together, Strawberry added some of her own touches. She even took the scraps and googly eyes and made her own monsters! Using shapes to be creative is what it should be about.

We worked on making heart animals, just as the picture book's illustrator did. For some reason, Strawberry wanted her penguin to have a googly eye belly button!

I’ve thought of a number of bonus activities to go with this book as well. Because of the similes in the text, it could be used as a great introduction to similes and metaphor in general. How are our human hearts like the animals pictured? Or, it would be a perfect stepping stone for learning about the various animals we created out of hearts.


Personally, I loved how animals were reduced to hearts in this book. We could read more into that. We are all, at our core, our heart: how we love, how we live.

Ok, that is a bit deep for preschool. Nevertheless, that is what I thought about as we were creating animals with hearts together.

This post is a part of the Homeschool Blogging Network’s series, 10 Days of Tips for Homeschooling Moms.

This week, I’m going to share 10 days of Picture Book Preschool Lessons

10 Days of Picture Book Preschool Lessons

Click over to the landing page to see the other posts I will be sharing. You can also see what tips the other homeschooling bloggers are sharing on their blogs.

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