In his picture-book debut, McKean ( The Haunted Circus ) adopts that classic Mr. Magoo-style comedic device--poor eyesight. Grandma Jo, who's expecting a visit from her grandson Lloyd, loses her glasses in a pot of stew. She is henceforth unable to read a letter canceling Lloyd's visit, much less the newspaper that warns, ``Angry Lion Escapes!'' Needless to say, Jo goes to the train station, recognizes ``Lloyd'' by his coat's ``fluffy collar,'' and leads him outside as horrified commuters watch. At home, Jo plies the lion with ice cream, plays hide-and-seek with him and helps him into the real Lloyd's spare pajamas. The case of mistaken identity is resolved; a tidy and kindhearted wrap-up, wherein the lion proves not to be ``mean'' but merely to have a weakness for ice cream, concludes matters on a cheerful note. Demarest's ( Lindbergh ) squiggly, loose line drawings, filled in with splashy watercolors, affectionately depict the lion's transformation from surly to content. But perhaps the book's strongest suit is McKean's pert anticipation of the reader's questions (when Grandma Jo drives to the train station, for instance, ``She knew the way by heart. That's why she could get there without her glasses''); these well-tuned overtures to the audience supplement a tried-and-true plot. Ages 4-8. (May)
PreS-Gr 3-Mistaken identity is the basis for this farcical tale. Nearly blind without her glasses, Grandma Jo goes to the train station to meet her grandson and brings home a runaway lion instead. Her obstreperous guest won't remove his coat, hates carrots, and refuses to take a bath. None of this behavior surprises Grandma Jo; she has dealt with little boys before. When she allows the lion to eat six kinds of ice cream for dinner, the two become fast friends. Later, he captures a burglar. When the police arrive, they find Grandma Jo's glasses and try to take away the dangerous animal. She assures them that if they feed him ice cream, he'll be perfectly nice. Demarest's splashy watercolor drawings match the story's madcap tone. Grandma Jo is wonderfully squinty-eyed; the lion is by turns angry, surprised, and content as a kitten. Even minor characters add to the fun with exaggerated expressions and actions. A delightfully comic story.-Nancy Seiner, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
After Grandma Jo loses her spectacles, an amusing series of events makes for the predictable fare that primary-grade students relish. Instead of bringing her grandson Lloyd home when she goes to the train station, she brings home an escaped zoo lion. Although the beast refuses to remove his coat, take a bath, or eat dinner, he's won over by six flavors of ice cream. After some culinary "ice capades," the lion and Grandma Jo have a ball playing together. Awakened in the middle of the night by a burglar devouring iced sweets, the lion captures Sneaky Sam, the police capture the lion, and Grandma Jo donates her reward money to the zoo for the purchase of frozen desserts. The simple, carefully constructed text and free-wheeling watercolor wash cartoons energize this action-packed farce.