In this blatantly commercial retread, the author of Night at the Museum (1994, revised 2007, film version 2006) gives the marine exhibits a turn to frolic.
Having hurried to work, museum guard Larry frets as he nods off that he’s left the bathtub faucet on back home—which translates in a dream to a flooded Manhattan and a museum building pushed out to sea by the blue whale and other reanimated specimens. The cartoon art looks equally dashed off, with sketchy backdrops fronted by hastily drawn figures like an octopus that never shows more than five tentacles and a seahorse that’s the same size as the adjacent sea turtle. Unsurprisingly, with help from his daughter Melissa, Larry gets the faucet turned off, the water drained away and the exhibits back in their proper places before dawn. Earnest closing disclaimers that it’s not actually possible either to flood Manhattan from a faucet or to pull the American Museum of Natural History anywhere are superfluous, if not downright condescending.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, flooding New York might not be the best-timed story idea. Larry’s promise of yet more sequels in the works is equally ill-advised. (Picture book. 5-7)