A made-for-storytime tale for little ones who do (and do not!) love affection.
Seal has just arrived at the national zoo from France and is eager to make “zee” new friends. So when no one visits her, she sets out to smooch her way around the zoo, believing she is making friends as she goes. However, her new zoo mates are less than thrilled by her fishy smell and (they think) overly friendly manners. Oblivious, Seal kisses on until at last the snow leopard sets her straight with a growl: “You stink!” Embarrassed, she slinks back to her pool as Sparrow, the only animal to initiate a friendship with Seal, reminds the other animals that once they, too, were new at the zoo. Together, the residents find their own way to welcome their new neighbor, and friendships begin at last on a good note. Soft acrylic, pencil, and charcoal illustrations feature wide-eyed, wildly dramatic animals in numerous kissing scenes. Young readers will squeal with delight at the onomatopoeic responses given by the animals, including “Ewww!” “Pee-yew!” and “Blech!” even as they root for Seal to win them over and, perhaps, rethink some of their own assumptions about cultural differences in their own settings. The humorous text offers numerous examples of rich language to build children’s vocabularies.
A pleasing twist on a friendship tale that gently teaches about cultural manners and boundaries. (Picture book. 4-8)