From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—This adaptation of the folk song details the surreal sights on a child's visit to an animal fair. The silliness includes a big baboon "combing his auburn hair," kangaroos rattling "six silver spoons," and bears walking down stairs "while juggling purple pears." Goembel's ink and acrylic illustrations have a cheeky appeal. Readers will spot a mischievous monkey in the background up to such tricks as making rabbit-ear fingers behind the baboon's head and tying a balloon to a kangaroo's tail. He gets his comeuppance when he jumps on the elephant's trunk and is blown away by the resulting sneeze: "and that was the end of the monk,/the monk, the monk, the monk./And that was the end of the monk!" Although no sheet music is included, this is a good addition to storytime playlists.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
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Based on the children’s song Animal Fair, Goembel’s adaptation adroitly posits the wild imaginings of a child: what might go on at a fair apparently run by animals? The answer is nonsense, as virtually nothing the animals do makes a whit of sense. That, of course, is what will make young listeners squeal with glee. The text is wonderfully wordy and tied to an irresistible rhythm: The bears came down the stairs / while juggling purple pairs. / The parrots squawked, they chattered and talked / as they stood on the back on their chairs. Goembel’s ink- and acrylic-wash artwork has an appealing orderliness to it; the animals tend to dress alike and stand in straight lines as if even their misbehavior is part of a rehearsed act. As lovers of the song know, it all comes to a head when the mischievous monk jumps on the elephant’s trunk—and, well, that’s all she wrote for that poor monkey. A silly, catchy little number with enough visual quirks to keep kids returning for one more curtain call. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Daniel Kraus