Can the animals at Sunset Safari Park save their home?
Pessimistic Penguin thinks nothing can save the doomed game preserve where he and a bevy of other animals live, since no one ever visits anymore. Zebra is more hopeful and rallies a flamingo, a lion, a giraffe, and various other creatures behind a cockamamie plan to grow “the biggest beets in the world.” Penguin thinks this idea is “bonkers,” but lo and behold—it works! Due in part to the copious amounts of manure the animals provide it, one particular beet grows to enormous proportions, attracting visitors by the hundreds. In fact, it grows so big that it crowds out the crowds. What will the animals do now? Zebra comes to the rescue again with a fork and a spoon and a mighty appetite. “Are you BONKERS?…You can’t eat all that,” says Penguin. But, in keeping with the story’s tall-tale feel, Zebra does eat the whole beet. In doing so, he transforms from a white-and-black striped animal to a purple-and-black one—and from a mere park resident to its new main attraction. People by the thousands visit, and the park is saved. Throughout, Jevons’ cartoon illustrations amplify the silly text’s humor with strong visual characterization and funny details.
Sure to have readers rooting for Zebra and laughing, too. (Picture book. 3-5)