Attendees at a convention of extraterrestrials mingle with equally strange, large-headed children as young Zubert rides with his mother in her van to deliver flowers to the best hotels in London.
While waiting for her in the lobby of the “smartest hotel of all,” Zubert becomes involved in a mission to rid the hotel of pesky animals in advance of an imminent visit from the hotel inspectors. Snoring Spinglefranks, a herd of blue, bespectacled buffalo, and a gaggle of troublesome monkeys are shooed from the rooms; a giant octopus is removed from the swimming pool; and all kinds of destructive pests are expelled from the kitchen. There, a perfect meal is prepared for the inspectors thanks to Zubert’s quick wits and the “slightly magic” powers of the Spinglefranks. The hotel inspection is completed, and the inspectors are satisfied, unaware of all the hijinks going on around them. There’s a lot to look at and signs to read in these fanciful cartoon illustrations, filled as they are with intriguing and sometimes-mysterious details. The endpapers in grayscale charmingly depict the hotel’s lost-and-found cabinet, which is filled with insects, food and artifacts. Perhaps acknowledging its second-banana status to the illustrations, the all-uppercase text is too small and sometimes hard to find on the page.
It’s a playful, even psychedelic feast for the eyes, but don’t get it for the story. (Picture book. 5-8)