Have you wondered why the animals at the zoo seem so tired—lions peacefully snoozing on rocks, giraffes serenely munching on leaves?
Author and illustrator Sujean Rim knows the answer—it’s because they spend all night swinging, swaying, jumping, and jiving!
In her new picture book Zoogie Boogie Fever, Sujean gives young readers a sneak peek into the creatures’ secret nighttime hobby, from fox-trotting foxes to a festive conga line including turtles, monkeys, snakes and flamingos, all rendered in exuberant cut paper collage and watercolor illustrations.
Read our interview with Sujean below, where she tells us about the inspiration for Zoogie Boogie Fever, her own favorite dance films, and her son’s special connection to the book.
Plus, enter for a chance to win a signed copy of the book—details below!
Scholastic: The animals in Zoogie Boogie Fever love to dance! Do you?
Sujean Rim: I LOVE to dance...I think I've been obsessed ever since I learned how to walk. My mom likes to remind me of how I'd start shaking my diapered tushy anytime I heard music as a baby. Growing up with shows and movies like Dance Fever, Soul Train, and Footloose have fueled my dance fantasies and today, my DVR is permanently set to tape my favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance. I'm just so captivated by watching dancers express themselves so fearlessly and freely.
Scholastic: What’s your favorite spread in Zoogie Boogie Fever, and why?
SR: There's a birds-eye view spread of all the animals on the dance floor doing the “Samba, Salsa, Cha-Cha-Cha, Mambo, Polka, Pop and Lock” that is probably my favorite because it encapsulates how I feel dancing should be—joyful and best with friends.
Scholastic: Picture books change so much in the drafting and editing process! How did Zoogie Boogie Fever change from conception to finished book?
SR: Originally, the idea of this book came from taking a Zumba class—or as I like to call it,"ZOOmba"...I was just so inspired by taking this class full of people of all shapes, sizes, and dance abilities, where everyone just let it all out; it made me think of zoo animals going wild.
As I worked on Zoogie Boogie Fever, especially as a parent, my feelings evolved from just wanting to make a silly book about dancing animals to wanting to really celebrate the idea of dancing to your own beat. I hope this book encourages kids to get up and express themselves without any fear of judgment.
Scholastic: Did your son, Charlie, influence the book at all? Has he read Zoogie Boogie Fever yet?
SR: Charlie is always an influence for me. This book felt extra personal because he's that shy, quiet kid who doesn't always know how to express himself. He's not into sports like most of his friends, which can make him feel awkward at times. Luckily, he has found his passions in art and music, and you would never think he was shy when you see him dance. He told me Zoogie Boogie Fever is his favorite book, and that just means everything to me.
Scholastic: You’re a big fan of classic dance movies. Did you sneak any references into Zoogie Boogie Fever?
SR: YES! I drew several animals side by side while looking dance movie stills from Singing in the Rain. And I looked at Saturday Night Fever for dance poses…and could not help but sneak in some accessories like leg warmers, off-the- shoulder sweatshirts, gold chains, tutus and top hats.
Click here to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Zoogie Boogie Fever and here to read the full rules. The contest is open from April 24 to May 8. No purchase is necessary, and you must be thirteen or older to enter. Good luck!
About Sujean Rim:
Sujean Rim is a children’s book author andillustrator who created the beloved Birdie series (including BIRDIE’S BIG-GIRL SHOES, BIRDIE’S BIG-GIRL DRESS and BIRDIE’S BIG-GIRL HAIR) and CHEE-KEE: A Panda in Bearland. She has worked as an illustrator for clients including Tiffany and Co., Target, and the website Daily Dandy, and she is working on several design and illustration projects, such as a campaign for UNAIDS. Sujean lives in New York with her favorite artist-husband, Bob, and their son, Charlie. Find her online at www.sujeanrim.com.