GOOD NIGHT, MONKEY BOY
Jarrett J. Krosoczka, . . Knopf, $14.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-81121-0
"Monkey Boy" is actually a redheaded, wide-grinned human boy dressed in monkey-suit pajamas, complete with tail. Like all human children, he resists going to sleep, although there is definitely something very primate in the way he tries to keep bedtime at bay. Newcomer Krosoczka shows Monkey Boy not only as a serial sneaker of bananas, but also as a creature who is wont to put toothpaste on his head and treat the shower curtain rod like a jungle vine. With densely colored, thickly applied acrylics and hand-lettered typography, the double-page vignettes create a strong emotional as well as visual texture. However, the text is all from the perspective of Monkey Boy's mother, so that readers do not really get to know the hero. Krosoczka comically underscores the mother's omnipresence by never showing her frontally or full-figure; in some scenes, she is an admonishing finger, while in others, her firm-but-fair approach is telegraphed by the stance of her shadow or the bearing of her torso. Yet the perspectives emphasize her power, as the boy shrinks under her scoldings—until the final page, when the flashlight under the covers establishes his hard-won independence. Ages 2-5.
Reviewed on: 05/28/2001