Sunday, December 01, 2019

Primate Party Pooper! Grumpy Monkey: PARTY TIME! by Suzanne Lang

One perfectly pleasant afternoon, Jim Panzee found an invitation.

You are invited to Porcupine's party!

Jim Panzee's best friend Norman is ecstatic!
"We can dance!" he exulted.

"Dance?" said Jim. "I can't DANCE!"

"CAN'T DANCE?" cried all the others.

Norman and the other animals pooh-pooh Jim's disclaimer. Hyena insists that anyone can dance. Lizard says to listen to the beat. Ostrich suggests that Jim just strut his stuff. They all demonstrate their best moves. Jim is confused by all of it.

Is Hyena hip hopping? Is Warthog waltzing? Does Lizard do the Lindy Hop?

They drag Jim out and make him try to dance. At last they declare he's ready to party down at Porcupine's bash.

Finally it's the day for grumpy Jim Panzee to reveal his dancing style. He capitulates and joins the Congo line of critters. Everyone is having a ball until suddenly Jim stops in the middle of the music and, in a moment of self-awareness, makes a pronouncement.

The dancers all stop, dumbfounded, and stare at Jim Panzee.

Then someone speaks up.
"Actually," said Water Buffalo, " I don't like dancing, but I never said anything because I thought I was the only one!"

"I always feel silly on the dance floor!" admitted Maribou.

"To be honest," added Bat, "dance floors are too LOUD!"

Porcupine is disappointed. He feels like a bad host and he bemoans the thought that all his party food will be wasted.
"WAIT!" said Jim Panzee. "There's FOOD at this party?"

It seems that there is plenty for everyone to do at Porcupine's party, in Suzanne Lang's sequel to her best-selling picture book, Grumpy Monkey (review here). In her latest, Grumpy Monkey Party Time! (Random House, 2019), with the assistance of artist Max Lang's hilarious illustrations of his curmudgeonly chimp, Lang's deft portrayal of a serious case of social anxiety offers support for those who don't enjoy boogie-ing down to feel fine about socializing in other ways. In a story that speaks to all those different drummers among its readers, Jim Panzee's latest comic adventure stands out in the crowd.

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