|Monkey goes bananas|
Author: Bloom, C. P.
Monkey, having spied a banana tree across the water, will stop at nothing to get a snack.
Kirkus Reviews (04/01/14)
School Library Journal (05/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (09/14)
The Hornbook (00/07/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/01/2014 Minimalism rules in this story of a monkey stuck on one island but determined to eat the bananas on the opposite island. A mere 51 words (all nouns—no verbs required) are employed to tell the tale of monkey see, monkey plot. The sparse text is complemented by Raymundo’s remarkably expressive illustrations, which showcase his storyboarding credentials by transmitting a whole lot without a whole lot of brushstrokes—a lowered brow here, a bead of sweat there—each detail worth a thousand words. There is a slapstick element to the humor (the monkey is flung around with some regularity), which will resonate with readers as they turn each page to see what the monkey will try next. Throw in an opportunistic shark with an empty belly, and the pieces are in place for a laugh-out-loud story that should earn plenty of repeat readings. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2014 PreS-Gr 4—Kids will jump right into this rip-roaring flip book—paced tale. A monkey, sitting chin-on-fist on a corner of land, eyes an inaccessible bunch of bananas on another piece of land across a strait. Wordlessly, the story begins: the monkey dips his toe to test the water; he cautiously walks in up to his belly (wordless top half panel); he smiles, realizing it is not too deep (wordless bottom half panel). "The monkey. The shark," reads the next spread, with the monkey paralyzed, dumbfounded, face to fin with the shark. "THE SHARK!" is the cry on the subsequent spread, and the monkey is running for his life back to shore, off the left page, in a full close-up. Action is king here, the characters and props named only with labels. The cartoon style is both hilarious and fresh, with smudgy charcoal lines and a soft, painterly touch executed by the heavy use of the digital blurring brush. Juxtaposed with the humor and emotional toll, the monkey's problem-solving processes and perseverance triumph and will inspire kids to think. The plot thickens, and the pace speeds up as obstacles mount and the battle ensues between the shark and the monkey, all told visually with labels. Whereas most children's books end with the protagonist winning, this slapstick ending pushes our comfort level. Don't lose out on the fun of sharing this two-dimensional enactment of the old adage "Necessity is the mother of invention."—Sara Lissa Paulson, The American Sign Language and English Lower School, New York City - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2014 The problem: the monkey is on a beach, the banana tree is on an island, and the water separates the two. A quick dip of the toe reveals that the water also contains the shark. The solution? Well, the stilts sink into the hole, and the fishing pole just pulls the shark up onto the beach, but the vines seem to work as a lasso to bend the banana tree and catapult the monkey to the island-the bunch, however, drops onto the beach and the one banana that the monkey manages to hang onto on his flight to the island falls right into the shark’s mouth. Using only descriptive nouns in all caps to draw attention to the key player on the page (“THE MONKEY”), the story relies primarily on a visual narrative, and the digitally enhanced paintings accomplish the telling admirably. Hazy but thick outlines filled with dappled coloration combine to create the ultimate animated-film aesthetic, with comics-style panels interspersed with full pages throughout. High action pages (when the monkey escapes the shark’s jaws to end up dripping and clinging to the wreckage, you’d swear his huge eyes are actually twitching) combine with the happy-go-lucky tone and a deadpan twist ending for a thoroughly engaging experience. TA - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.