Let’s Stay Healthy!

Express Readers knows that is difficult to stay home, and that it is also difficult for our littles to understand why. Here is a book and activities to help!

The Zoo Is Closed                       
Click the picture to read the book

Help Share This Free Book

Downloadable versions:

Scroll down past the printable activities to print the Creature Finds or to see a larger version of the color pages in order to look closely for all of the creatures.

The Zoo Is Closed - a book about why we need to stay home for children

Creature Find Activity Downloads

Click on the pictures below to download the file for printing.

Print the above sheets.

The blank spots are for any animals you find that are not on the sheet.

Use the sheets to find the above animals in the following ways:

a. look through the Express Readers book, The Zoo Is Closed, or print the picture find pages of the book
b. look through a book about animals
c. find stuffed animals in the house
d. watch a live zoo stream
e. cut pictures from a magazine and make a collage
f. do a scavenger hunt throughout your neighborhood (either taking pictures with an old camera or marking each animal as it is found)

To do a scavenger hunt throughout your neighborhood, ask your neighbors to participate by posting on FaceBook, posting on Instagram, calling neighbors you know, or posting on the Next Door App.

No matter how many animals you find, if you take a picture of the paper (or your collage or your best photo of the scavenger hunt) and tag @ExpressReaders on Instagram or Facebook, Bug will PERSONALLY send you a shout out with your name and a picture 🙂 (You can also email us at contact@expressreaders.net)

Indoor/Outdoor Scavenger Hunts by picture for children or people who cannot read yet:

Outdoor Picture Hunt

Indoor Picture Hunt

Indoor/Outdoor Scavenger Hunts by decodable level:


  • Read each of the items in the boxes and find these items in your home or outside.
  • Color the box once you have found the items or draw a picture of the item in the box.

Decodable Finder Sheets

Color Picture Finds

Use the Creature Finder Book or Sheets to mark all of the creatures you find.

Printable Picture Finds

Print each sheet and color every creature you find.

How can you, as a neighbor or family, help?

  • Draw an animal on the sidewalk in chalk.
  • Place an animal (stuffed or a picture) in your window in a visible spot.
  • Place and animal (stuffed or picture) on a chair on your porch or taped to a covered pole on your porch.
  • Put a lawn ornament that is an animal in your front yard.
  • Put a picture of an animal in a Ziploc bag to hang outside in your front yard.

Dear Parents, Teachers, and Family,

The Zoo Is Closed is a simple book meant to help our children and our loved ones understand how important it is to stay home to help everyone stay healthy.

I wrote this book for my son. My son is autistic and has an incredible village of people who teach him, play with him, and love him. He could not understand why, all of a sudden, his school was closed, he could not be with his beloved therapists, his grandmother could not come over, his friends could not visit, and he could not go to his favorite places. I wanted to write him a simple book to help him understand. I am trying daily to juggle my work and his world so he can feel loved and safe, and I hope this book will help some other parents as well.

Staying home helps us all, and as a community, we need to take care of each other during this time. I wish I could help all of the heroes on our front lines, but I can only thank them and use my skills to provide support to those who might need it. Please feel free to share this book and all of the resources with any who could benefit.

My hope is that, just like the friends in this book, our neighbors and community can help with an activity to entertain children and people who need support to control the uneasiness brought by this huge change.

This book strays from the Express Readers’ decodable model, but the topic is important, and the audience for this book needs our support, love, and best efforts.

Thank you, from all of us at Express Readers, for staying home and for taking care of our communities.

All my best,
Elise Lovejoy