K-Gr 3-That delightful polar bear who is employed as a lifeguard at the Hotel Larry is back. His matter-of-fact, sensible approach to life is evidenced in the explanations of daily events that he offers the Frobishers, the hotel owners. Here, he accompanies young Mildred to her dancing lesson and joins the class. He sees nothing wrong with a polar bear dancing as, he explains, there was plenty of it in his Arctic home. However, Madame Swoboda refuses to let him participate. Mildred gives him ballet lessons at home, which he then shows the other polar bears at the zoo where his brother works. The wacky story is clever, genial, and full of the droll humor found in other books about Larry. Energetic pictures of the active bears, done with simple lines, are particularly funny. This imaginative, lovable polar bear will be welcomed back by young readers.-Andrea Tarr, Corona Public Library, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The Pinkwaters' Larry is a polar bear of many parts. He plays the bongos, eats blueberry muffins, serves as a hotel swimming pool lifeguard (in Bayonne, N.J.)-and he can cut a step or two. All polar bears can dance, Larry informs his readers, but Madame Swoboda, who teaches a ballet class where Larry has taken the hotel owner's daughter, tells Larry that polar bears have no place in ballet. Larry proves her wrong. Daniel Pinkwater's language is a thing of beauty; Larry's elocution can unfurl like a banner in the breeze ("I have a great desire to tell a story and express feelings through movement"). But it is the deadpan quality of the text that serves as tinder igniting the drollery. The ridiculousness is broadened by Jill Pinkwater's pen-and-ink artwork: Larry was clearly born to legwarmers, and Madame Swoboda is a smoky vision straight from Central Europe. (Picture book. 4-8)