“Animal Tales Extravaganza” Welcomes Michael Ian Black and Gigi® and the Lend Me a Hand Band®

Learn to make a pop-up-book at home, meet favorite children’s book authors, dance to live music, and run through the pages of real larger-than-life books

Radio Disney Road Crew returns for encore performance on New York Life’s Main Stage

Bronx, N.Y. – April 14, 2010 – Kids are raving about Animal Tales Extravaganza at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo, and this weekend promises to be one of the best. Popular actor/comedian Michael Ian Black will entertain families with his latest children’s book, The Purple Kangaroo, and Gigi® and the Lend Me a Hand Band® will be rocking New York Life’s Main Stage while kids dance on the zoo’s famous Astor Court.

Pop-up book creator Matthew Reinhart will read and demonstrate his latest creation, The Jungle Book, and will reveal some of his pop-up book magic so everyone can make pop-up books at home.

And don’t forget about the legendary Bronx Zoo animal entertainers. Families can introduce their babies to the newest members of the Bronx Zoo family – the baby mandrill, Gertrude, in Congo Gorilla Forest; Ares, the new baby Coquerel’s Sifaka in the Madagascar! exhibit; and the new Galapagos tortoises in the Reptile House.

Over the course of the 13-weekend extravaganza, renowned children’s authors from notable publishers including HarperCollins, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Macmillan, Penguin Group (USA), Random House Children’s Books, and Simon & Schuster and will be hosting special story-time readings of their books at the Asia Plaza Theater. Families will be able to meet their favorite children’s book authors and listen to them read their new and classic works then head over to New York Life’s Main Stage on Astor Court for live entertainment by some of the top-rated children’s entertainers.

Kids can walk through larger-than-life pages of real books including The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle at the Butterfly Garden and Alphabet by Matthew Van Fleet at the Reptile House. At the Bear Overlook, walk through the new children’s book, Moon Bear, by Brenda Z. Guiberson and award-winning illustrator, Ed Young and enjoy a wild ride with Wild About Books by Judy Sierra at Astor Court. These interactive, walk-through book experiences have been underwritten by the publishers of the books featured; Penguin Group (USA), Simon & Schuster, The Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Random House Children’s Books.

The experience also includes an opportunity for children to make their own “animal tale” book and “animal tail” bookmark based on Big Babies, Little Babies, which is published by DK Publishing, one of the event sponsors.

This weekend’s line-up for the Animal Tales Extravaganza includes the following:

**Saturday, April 17

11am, 1pm – Wild Asia Plaza

Author appearance and reading of The Purple Kangaroo (Simon & Schuster)

Read by author/actor/comedian, Michael Ian Black

The monkey narrator in this humorous picture book guarantees that he can read your mind. What begins as a simple request to imagine the most spectacular thing in history turns into the story of a roller-skating, bubble-blowing purple kangaroo searching for his dear friend Ernesto on the moon.

Michael Ian Black is a popular stand-up comedian has starred in many television series and films including Michael and Michael Have Issues, Stella, The State, Wet Hot American Summer, Viva Variety, Vh1's I Love the... series, and NBC's Ed. He wrote the screenplay for Run, Fat Boy Run, and wrote and directed the film Wedding Daze.

11:30am, 1pm – New York Life’s Main Stage

Performance by Radio Disney Road Crew

AM 1560, New York’s #1, 24-hour radio station devoted to kids, tweens and families will host a live station appearance at the Bronx Zoo with the Radio Disney Road Crew featuring contests, your favorite music, and plenty of great prizes! During the appearance, our DJ will keep the energy level high as we engage kids and families alike in interactive games and activities like dance parties, trivia contests and more, including custom created games tailored around the zoo like Monkey Chatter, Animal Roar, and more.


**Sunday, April 18

11am, 1pm, 3pm – Wild Asia Plaza

Author appearance and reading of The Jungle Book (Simon & Schuster)

Read and demonstrated by author/pop-up expert, Matthew Reinhart

In this stunning retelling of a phenomenal classic, honor is tested, battles of good over evil are waged, and the importance of family reigns supreme. True to Rudyard Kipling's original story, tree branches literally draw the reader in to this tale of Mowgli the Man Cub exploring the ruins of the Lost City, riding atop thundering elephants, and facing a fierce tiger attack. A must-have for every family's library, this epic pop-up adventure features paper engineering as intricate and magical as the very laws of the jungle.

A graduate of the Pratt Institute, Matthew Reinhart is the highly acclaimed author of Animal Popposites, The Ark, Cinderella, and The Jungle Book, His pop-up career began while working with Robert Sabuda on books like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Movable Mother Goose, before breaking into the world of pop-ups on his own. Matthew lives in New York City.

11:30am, 2pm – New York Life’s Main Stage

Musical performance by Gigi® and the Lend Me a Hand Band®

A highly acclaimed, interactive family band that keeps families singing, laughing & dancing with a variety of musical styles, puppets & floats. The inter-generational family band led by multi-award winning singer, Gigi® received National Recognition as Finalists in the 2008 Children’s Music Web Awards for both Best Album and Best Song for Pre-Schoolers, for their Movement & Merriment CD. The group was the Featured Children’s Band this past year at “Sunoco's Welcome Americafest” 4th of July celebration in Philadelphia, PA. Gigi was also a recipient of a grant from Meet the Composer, National Endowment for the Arts and NY State Council for the Arts for her work in Children's Music. For more information visit Websites: www.gigiband.com and www.sonicbids.com/GigiandtheLendMeaHandBand.com.

New York Life is the featured sponsor of the Animal Tales Extravaganza and is hosting a Child ID event every weekend during the festivities. The Child ID program provides peace of mind to parents who are concerned about the safety of their children and want to take action to protect them. A complimentary Identification Card, complete with the child’s photograph and fingerprints will be given to the parents.

MEDIA NOTE(S):

** Scheduled times and performers subject to change without notice.


Contact:
Max Pulsinelli – 718-220-5182; mpulsinelli@wcs.org
Steve Fairchild – 718-220-5189; sfairchild@wcs.org


The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 5:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays. Adult admission is $15, children (3-12 years old) $11, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $13. Parking is $12 for cars and $16 for buses. The Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit www.bronxzoo.com or call 718-367-1010.


The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.


New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States* and one of the largest life insurers in the world. New York Life has the highest possible financial strength ratings from all four of the major credit rating agencies. Headquartered in New York City, New York Life’s family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. New York Life Investments** provides institutional asset management and retirement plan services. Other New York Life affiliates provide an array of securities products and services, as well as institutional and retail mutual funds. Please visit New York Life’s Web site at www.newyorklife.com for more information.

*New York Life is the largest mutual life insurance company based on the Fortune 500, ranked within industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual), Fortune magazine, May 4, 2009.

**New York Life Investments is a service mark used by New York Life Investment Management Holdings LLC and its subsidiary, New York Life Investment Management LLC.

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