A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Mr. Peek remains oblivious to what's happening around him, but readers learn how easily a situation can be misunderstood, from Mr. Peek's belief that he outgrew his suit to the animals' belief that he's saying unkind things about them. The importance of attitude also shines through: Mr. Peek sees everything in a whole new light when he realizes his jacket still fits just fine.
Positive Role Models
Mr. Peek ultimately shows how attitude can be everything, but he doesn’t seem to learn much of a lesson about making assumptions. Young Jimmy, however, has a sense of humor about the whole thing and isn’t at all upset about the damage to his jacket.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mr. Peek -- as a representative adult -- comes across as a rather ridiculous, foolish character. Kids will readily relate: Adults all too often make a big deal out of the smallest, funniest things. Also, Mr. Peek exclaims, "Oh, poop!" when he loses his button.
Is It Any Good?
This unusual, clever story is plenty of fun for kids, but its point may jab at parents a bit. That’s not a bad thing. How often do grown-ups speak disparagingly about themselves, in jest or in dismay? It isn’t good for anyone, especially for little ears who may hear something very different. Kids will recognize Mr. Peek and giggle at the effects of his monologue: the shocked elephant, the dejected monkeys, the sobbing giraffes. But once he realizes he hasn’t outgrown his jacket after all, he bounds happily through the zoo. The animals still misunderstand his cheery self-affirmations -- he still isn’t talking about them, but it doesn’t matter a bit.
Moods are infectious, and this is a wonderful illustration of how one person can brighten -- or ruin -- another’s day. Mr. Peek works himself into a very dark mood, and his paranoia about getting fired might puzzle kids. Mr. Peek doesn’t quite learn his lesson on assuming the worst -- he vows to keep his mind straight next time, and just one page later he’s forgotten his promise. But again, that’s pretty typical of grown-ups.
Playful, clever artwork captures Mr. Peek’s dejection -- and then better spirits. Kids will enjoy spotting Jimmy and the black cat as they trail Mr. Peek through the zoo.
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