What’s New At The Zoo? – Phyllis Newman & Travis Foster

The girls are so amused by What’s New At The Zoo? This book version of the song by Betty Comden and Adolph Green from the Broadway Hit of the 60’s, Do Re Mi features wonderfully bright and quirky illustrations by Travis Foster. We were thrilled to catch up with Phyllis Newman, 2 time Tony winner, who wrote the introduction, (wife of the late Adolph Green), and Travis at their event at Books of Wonder. So, quite a collaboration! The song and book are about Central Park Zoo in the days when the poor animals had no room and were not well taken care of. Things have changed since then, and the zoo is delightful now… in case you are visiting NYC! You can buy a signed copy from Books of Wonder here of course!

Photos by Sean Katz of Katz PR

Oona amusing Phyllis and Travis. (Phyllis was telling us that she knew Oona O’Neill Chaplin, who was the inspiration for naming Oona.)


Travis also conducted a drawing workshop with the kids and here he is giving the munchkin some pointers.


The book dedication for the girls.


And last but not least, here is my little interview with Travis:

Jeanne: What was the best thing about working with Phyllis Newman?
Travis: Phyllis is very generous with her time and energy. The lyrics and tune are very catchy and my kids and I find ourselves singing them often.

Jeanne: Do you have any other books coming up? What are they about?
Travis: I’m delighted to share that I have two new books underway, both with Blue Apple. The publisher has tapped into my passion, which is providing children the encouragement to doodle and draw. I consider drawing as important as math and science. Everything of visual significance is well designed and the foundation to good design is drawing. Drawing is a universal language.

Jeanne: What do you like the best about your job?
Travis: I work from a home studio: no commute. That’s nice. We home school our four kids and my two girls want to be full time artists when they grow up. It’s cool that they enjoy being in my studio as much as I do. Ever since I could hold a pencil, I drew for fun (way before it became a career). My work is my passion – I love to create, I draw for myself outside my work. It’s nice to know that others enjoy my doodles and I’m grateful that my work and play are synonymous.