It may all just be a misunderstanding but there's trouble aplenty when Mr Peek visits the zoo in this hilarious picture book.
Reviewed by Kate Hitchings
Mr Peek and the Misunderstanding at the Zoo is a picturebook written and illustrated by Kevin Waldron. Ever had a day where a single misunderstanding creates a spiral of worry and annoyance? Then you will sympathise when Mr Peek’s small, button-popping mistake takes a whole zoo full of animals into the spiral with him!
The reader follows Mr Peek as he mutters and sulks and sighs his way around his zoo. He further compounds the misunderstanding as his beloved animals overhear and misapply every woeful sentence. Fortunately, the situation is resolved – observant readers may have guessed the solution, others will be satisfied to find the clues on the reread this book merits. The resolution transforms the mood, as the whole zoo reflects Mr Peek’s restored confidence.
The appealing, retro illustrations are full of rich details; the creatures’ eyes alone skillfully convey a whole range of animal emotion. The book is a visual delight, entertaining and witty. Ambitious vocabulary gives emotional depth and comedy without ever becoming a barrier to the story. It is a book to read aloud, and the extravagant lamentations lend themselves to an expressive read. There is a strong message too; the book uses a light touch and deft humour to show the power of words and judgments to cast down or reassure. Children who appreciate the way in which Mr Peek unintentionally causes consternation and then obliviously restores harmony will be amused, but they will also learn a valuable lesson in empathy.