Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 04/20/2013 PreS-Gr 1—Barnett is back with a zany interactive counting book that's sure to tickle youngsters' funny bones. The text starts on the title page with the words: "Hey kids! Time to count the monkeys… all you have to do is turn the page…." But on the first page, one king cobra has scared them off. Next, two mongooses frighten off the cobra, and so on, with ever-increasing numbers of wacky animals and people until "10 polka-dotted rhinoceroses with bagpipes and bad breath" are called upon to get rid of 9 lumberjacks and the book runs out of pages, leaving 0 monkeys. Don't despair, because the final page turn reveals a huge number of monkeys filling up the endpapers. Cornell's full-bleed cartoon artwork featuring mongooses wearing numbered racing tops, crocodiles with top hats and canes, and an assortment of lumberjacks in plaid tops sporting a variety of mustaches and beards is a perfect fit for Barnett's chatty, tongue-in-cheek tone. Cornell packs the pages with oversize characters and plenty of color, all on a green backdrop reminiscent of the jungle from the initial endpaper. The story unfolds in an almost cinematic style that will have young listeners impatiently turning the pages. Barnett's Chloe and the Lion (Hyperion, 2012) broke into metafiction, making it more accessible to older readers. This title is more straightforward and will appeal to fans of What to Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot (Dial, 2012) and other interactive books. Sure to be a hit, even if those elusive monkeys are rather difficult to count when they finally make an appearance.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2013 Counting the monkeys seems like a simple enough task. The project goes awry right from the start in this counting book, however: one king cobra has scared the monkeys off the page. Then two mongooses (“Or is that 2 mongeese?”) chase the cobra away, and things only continue to go downhill from there, with nary a monkey in sight along the way. With an escalating series of silly characters to count—including swarms of bees, grandma beekeepers, and lumberjacks who just won’t scram—Barnett guides his audience through the jungle to try to regain control of the story. After ten polka-dotted rhinoceroses with bagpipes and bad breath, though, we’re out of pages, and there are zero monkeys in this book. Although audiences never get to count the monkeys, Barnett’s adventure is a complete hoot in its absurdity, and, with its predictable structure but unpredictable content, it begs to be read aloud. The text is prescriptive, giving a suggested course of action before turning each page (“Give each lumberjack a high five and then turn the page”), helping novice storytime leaders engage their audiences, while the numeral and name of the countable elements are set off in big red print accessible to young count-o-philes. The acrylic illustrations set the boldly colored characters—cartoonishly drawn with softly painterly outlines—against muted jungle scenery. They also match the tone of the book, with even scary creatures like crocodiles sporting winsome grins, top hats, canes, and vests. This romp would work well as a base for a rainforest-themed storytime, but it might be even more fun paired with other books that run a standard script slantwise, like Kelly Bingham’s Z Is for Moose (BCCB 4/12). TA - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 06/01/2013 Although counting books may tire out jaded grown-ups, a good one will always get youngsters excitedly running through their numbers. Barnett begins with a call: “Hey, kids! Time to count the monkeys!” But his simians won’t show, having been scared off. So who scared them off? Maybe those two mongooses? Or those three crocodiles? Barnett instructs readers to ward off each group of beasts with various techniques. For example, on a page featuring four grizzly bears, the instructions say, “Put your arms above your head! Make a loud roar! Bang together some pots and pans, if you have them.” (This isn’t a book to read during quiet time.) Besides the chance to make noise, kids will adore Cornell’s broadly exaggerated animals, from the toothy monkey grins to the round bottoms of bearded lumberjacks. The whole package has a Saturday-morning-cartoon cheerfulness. And when the monkeys still haven’t appeared at the purported end, never fear. The last spread will keep counters content for a good long while. Adult patience advised. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.