cover image Three Little Monkeys

Three Little Monkeys

Quentin Blake, illus. by Emma Chichester Clark. Harper, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-267067-0

Hilda Snibbs, a heroine who is a hybrid of Auntie Mame and Margaret Dumont, lives in a palatial Parisian apartment with three monkeys named Tim, Sam, and Lulu (they’re identical except for Lulu’s hair bow). Hilda dotes on them, but every time she leaves the house, they pick a room and lay waste to it. And each time she returns, their response is the same: “Tim and Sam and Lulu looked at her with their big, round eyes and said nothing.” After Hilda discovers the monkeys in the bathroom—two are covered in soapsuds, and the third has mummified itself in toilet paper—she despairs, “Oh, for a peaceful life without these wicked little monkeys!” Can these naughty monkeys change their ways? Seinfeld’s “No hugging, no learning” credo feels apropos to Blake’s wrap-up, though he employs it with an unmistakable undercurrent of parental affection. Clark (Plenty of Love to Go Around) makes the most of the book’s oversize format in her bright, mixed-media scenes, letting the lanky, unblinking monkeys’ destruction sprawl from margin to margin. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)