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Children's LiteratureWhen it is time for the zoo animals to have their photographs taken, Mr. Phibbs, the zookeeper, calls for help. Beautiful Buehla's Beauty Parlor has advertised that they can make "a BEAUTIFUL you!" Soon Buehla is on her way to fix the messy animals. She hairsprays the lion's mane into a curly heap. The hippo gets the works: lipstick, eye shadow, etc. Disco outfits suit up the bears, while Large Marge, the elephant, gets luscious eyelashes. Buehla calls all the snakes to strict attention. "Beautiful!" she exclaims after each transformation. She is spraying the gorilla pink when the photographer arrives and the animals line up, along with her. It takes an enormous elephant sneeze to bring the animals back to normal for the picture Mr. Phibbs really wanted; "Beautiful!" he bellows. This rather ordinary story becomes special when Chess's watercolors create scenes complete with all sorts of zoo details: stands of bamboo, wire fences, brick animal houses, and animals with real personalities. The perky heroine, seen touching up the hippo on the jacket, has a blonde top knot, red sneakers, a big smile, and a bag full of beauty products galore. The double-page illustrations depicting the animals lined up grinning for the photographer before and after the sneeze are delicious. 2006, Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins Publishers, and Ages 4 to 7.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz