Mr. Peek and the Misunderstanding at the Zoo
By Kevin Waldron
Templar Books, $15.99, ages 2-7
Observant kids will note there are two green jackets hanging from the pegs in Mr. Peek’s front hall as he’s getting ready to go to his job at the zoo. The one he puts on is waytootight, fouling his mood and sending Mr. Peek into spasms of self-recrimination beginning with his out-loud declarations about weight gain – “You’re getting very fat,” he tells himself, a remark meant for his ears only that, unfortunately, the hippo believes is directed at her. And so it goes, as Mr. Peek inadvertently insults the penguins, the bear, the elephant, as he berates himself while making the morning rounds. Ah, but then his son shows up in a w a y t o o b i g green jacket and Mr. Peek’s good humor is restored. He reverses course, this time brimming with only positive things to say. The animals’ worries dissolve, too. There are a couple of on-point messages here for the kindergarten set – be careful what you say out loud, don’t believe everything you hear, (not everything is about you), a good mood is contagious (as is a foul one). But most of all there are hilarious illustrations with clever touches everywhere, sure to spread smiles and elicit giggles.