Monkey Ono

J C Phillipps, Author
J. C. Phillipps. Viking, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-670-78505-6
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The purple toy monkey of the title devises a series of ingenious but comically doomed strategies to get to the beach after being left behind by his owners. Phillipps’s (Wink: The Ninja Who Wanted to Nap) cut-paper collages—embellished with watercolor, crayon, and stitching—convey energy, movement, and frustration in a way that few artists working in this medium can match. But the real stars of her story are the hand-drawn and goofily schematic three-step plans that reflect the workings of Monkey Ono’s fevered brain. It’s hard to pick a favorite scheme, although “Operation: Swirlie,” which involves having the family cat flush Monkey Ono out to the shore, is a surefire giggle-inducer. While not quite at the humor level of Melanie Watts’s Scaredy Squirrel books, Monkey Ono’s obsession is a fresh and welcome take on the standard monkeys-are-mischievous premise. Monkey’s Ono’s toddlerlike, “woe is me” tantrums will generate knowing laughs, and the monkey’s emphatic catchphrases—including “Bananza!” Boom! Beach Day!” and the best “Oh nooo!” this side of Mr. Bill—are likely to work their way into readers’ lexicons. Ages 2–5. Agent: Scott Treimel NY. (Mar.)
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