Cuddle Monkey

Blake Liliane Hellman, illus. by Chad Otis. Atheneum/Dlouhy, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-3117-1
Lewis, a young monkey, can’t get enough cuddles. In grainy mixed-media artwork, newcomer Otis draws Lewis as a toylike simian with a swooping tale, a curlicue on his head, and long arms just right for big hugs. Lewis stays flexible as his harassed parents care for the house and deal with a younger sibling: “So, Lewis snuggled all his stuffed animals,” but they don’t snuggle back. Lewis has to wait through school, a non-cuddle-friendly space (“cuddling the school bus driver was too dangerous”), and through dinner, too, until bedtime brings the monkey what he needs. The realistic portrayal of frustrated waiting (“This time, Lewis waited six whole minutes”) becomes all too vivid for the reader as Lewis is briefly denied the affection he craves. Hellman (Something Smells!) writes with energy and humor (“Owen was wiggly and squiggly and definitely not a good cuddler”), delivering the message that being in a family means sometimes having to wait for what you want—but not forever. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 09/11/2019
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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