cover image Putting the Monkeys to Bed

Putting the Monkeys to Bed

Gennifer Choldenko, illus. by Jack E. Davis. Putnam, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-24623-4

Having explored shyness and insecurity in picture books like Louder, Lili and A Giant Crush, Choldenko turns her attention to a boy whose mind won’t stop racing. After reading a story with Mama, it’s bedtime for Sam, but when she leaves the room, a trio of monkeys spring to life; one is dressed like an organ grinder’s monkey, another wears a leopard-print dress, and the third is a sock monkey. Rowdy shenanigans ensue (“They smash and bash and crash-crash-crash”), as do loud complaints from Mama. In characteristically exaggerated cartoons, Davis (Peanut Butter and Homework) has fun picturing both the rambunctiousness that Sam and the monkeys get up to and the torrent of questions that keep him awake (“Do pirates sleep with their eye patches on?”). The monkeys are basically an externalization of the jitters plaguing Sam, and Choldenko’s buzzy narration itself quiets as Sam uses breathing techniques and reads to the monkeys on his way to falling asleep—self-calming techniques that many readers may find helpful themselves. Ages 3–5. [em]Author’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (June) [/em]