David Bedford, Author, Edward Eaves, Illustrator , illus. by Edward Eaves. Hyperion $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7868-1846-4

Mo Monkey is going through a phase that just about every child knows all too well: he refuses to take off a beloved article of clothing, no matter how disgusting it gets. Mo wears his rainbow sweater to collect juicy berries and to make mud pies, and he even uses it "to clean his hands and feet before dinner... and to wipe his face afterward." Naturally, Mother Monkey is itching to give the grubby sweater a thorough wash. But her good intentions lead to a tug of war that pits Mo and his jungle peers against all the animal mothers—and that stretches out the cherished sweater to the point that it's unwearable. No matter: it converts into a nifty hammock. Although Bedford's (The Copy Crocs ) brisk and economic text moves the story along, his writing is so descriptive that the promising premise merely unfolds rather than takes off. Bright colors abound in Eaves's (Fairy Tale Secrets ) paintings, and his animals have the streamlined shapes and dot-eyes of favorite stuffed toys. However, his pictures favor cuteness at the expense of personality, and the power of Mo's obsession—and the wiliness that it engenders—never come alive. Ages 2-5. (June)

Reviewed on: 07/26/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Discover what to read next