Jim Aylesworth, , illus. by Henry Cole. . Dutton, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-525-46940-7

When Mom and Dad head out for their night on the town, will their "angelic" little monkeys behave? Not likely. First, there are as many of them as there are letters of the alphabet; second, as Cole (The Sissy Duckling) imagines them, the offspring of these stylish human parents really are primates—which means Danny is particularly adroit at "Swinging on the drape" and Ike can hold three dripping ice cream cones at once—one in each hand and one in his prehensile tail. (The appropriate capital letter introduces the key word in each act of mayhem, and Cole works into the paintings the alphabetically corresponding name of each offending monkey, which readers can spot on pajamas and other personal items). Aylesworth's (One Crow: A Counting Rhyme) literal-minded quatrains seldom leap off the page: "Naughty little monkey,/ Under Mom's umbrella./ It's far too big and heavy/ For such a little fella." But Cole's work exudes his signature sassy exuberance from the "A" of Andy's paper airplane to the closing trip to the zoo, where the chastened monkeys are on their best behavior, sporting dresses and sailor suits, and lined up in alphabetical order. These 26 siblings' mischievous élan will doubtless inspire monkeyshines on the part of readers. Ages 3-7. (Aug.)