School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Milo, one of the snow monkeys at the Central Park Children's Zoo in New York City, loves watching the dancing animals and listening to the music on the Delacorte Clock, located at the entrance. He would so much like to join them that he ignores his friends. When the zookeeper forgets to lock their enclosure, Milo escapes and makes it to the top of the clock and has a happy time dancing with the bronze creatures. Eventually, though, he realizes that they are cold and can't hug him back, so he eagerly returns to his warm friends who love him. This story is told in verse that for the most part works, but some rhymes feel forced or are ungrammatical. The verse mentions trees but the monkey enclosure is shown with only a lone dead tree. The cartoon-style illustrations are colorful, picturing the park in autumn, and the children and adults are varied. Endpapers show an old-fashioned zoo with animals in small cages, but in the mid 1980s, the Central Park Zoo was remodeled and the cages were replaced with naturalistic environments. According to its website, the snow monkeys' environment even includes a hot tub. Children will need to look carefully at all the different pictures of the clock to find all seven dancing animals depicted. An additional purchase.—Elaine Lesh Morgan, formerly at Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
At a zoo, a snow monkey named Milo loves to watch the Dancing Clock. On the hour, the animal figurines on the clock move and spin about as they play instruments and dance. For instance, two monkey strike the bell at the top of the clock, a hippopotamus plays the fiddle, and a bear taps a tambourine. One day, the door to the snow monkey cage is not locked and Milo escapes and heads directly to the Dancing Clock. On the hour, he joins the musical, animal figurines on the clock. Milo has a great time and the visitors at the zoo enjoy watching Milo interact with the clock. However, Milo discovers that he is locked out of the monkey's caged area. He misses his home and needs to find a way back into his area. The story is written in rhyming verse and colorful illustrations support Milo's adventure. At the back of the book, there is a note about the Dancing Clock. The Delacorte Clock at the Central Park Zoo in New York City has the animal figurines that spin and play songs. The story may be a fun way to anticipate a trip to New York City's Central Park Zoo. After reading the story, check out the YouTube web site for videos of the Delacorte Clock in action. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
Kirkus Reviews - Kirkus Reviews
The fabulous musical Delacorte clock in Central Park in New York City is the subject of a snow monkey's devotion, told in rhymed couplets.
Milo the snow monkey loves to watch and listen to the clock, on which two monkeys ring a bell and animals circle—the bear with a tambourine, the elephant with a squeezebox accordion, the hippo with the fiddle. He wants to join their dance. One day, the zookeeper leaves a gate unlocked, and Milo leaps out to sit on the bell with the monkeys and then dance with each animal figure in turn. The crowds cheer. But then Milo realizes it is cold up there, and there's no food. Fortuitously, the zookeeper comes by, a well-placed nut toss attracts her attention and Milo is back with his buddies, "A clock can be special, but not like a friend!" It is clear from the falling russet leaves that this is autumn. Curiously, most of the brightly clad figures look more French than East Coast urban. There are hats on most of the adults and many of the children; there are scarves and hair ribbons galore on the big-eyed, sharp-nosed gentry in their plaids and polka-dots. The verse chugs along, thwacking its rhymes as it goes, which can be irritating or satisfying depending on readers' tastes. A note "About the Dancing Clock" offers a bit more information.
Not nearly so engaging as its subject, alas. (Picture book. 3-5)