From Publishers Weekly
In Waldron's debut, published in the U.K. in 2008, Mr. Peek the zookeeper finds his uniform jacket much too tight one morning, and his disgruntlement almost spoils everyone's day. You're getting very fat, he tells himself, and a nearby hippo looks aghast, thinking he's talking about her. The elephants hear him grumble, Look how wrinkly you are, and the giraffes get paranoid at his muttering, None of the animals even like you. When Mr. Peek discovers he has mistaken his son's green jacket for his own (which fits just fine), his mood lifts. He strolls through the zoo a second time, speaking in brisk affirmatives and the animals sigh with relief. Waldron, whose digital caricatures and landscapes suggest fastidiously colored-in pencil doodles, pictures Mr. Peek as a lanky, mustachioed John Cleese type. Mr. Peek plods at first, then silly-walks with glee. Although he is clownish, both his bad and good attitudes are contagious. While Waldron's comical story may have kids repeating Mr. Peek's favorite expression of dismay—Oh, poop!—it also serves as an excellent reminder to practice optimism in words and deeds. All ages. (May)
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2—Poor Mr. Peek thinks he has suddenly gained a tremendous amount of weight when he puts on his zookeeper jacket and a button pops off. As he makes his morning rounds, he complains to himself about how fat and wrinkled he is. "Oh, woe is me! You're getting very fat," he despairs aloud. "None of the animals even like you!" he mutters as he passes the giraffes. He is so sorry for himself that he does not notice that the zoo animals are worried because they think he is talking to them. Luckily, he returns home to discover that he had inadvertently switched jackets with his son. Feeling better now that his clothes fit, Mr. Peek makes his rounds again, this time reassuring himself (and the relieved animals) that everything is fine. Waldron's digital-media illustrations humorously convey the alarmed expressions of the animals while the quirky font and creative text placement reinforce Mr. Peek's stream-of-consciousness muttering as he wanders through the zoo. Pair this with Peggy Rathman's Good Night, Gorilla
(Putnam, 2002) for a fun storytime about clueless zookeepers.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT
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