cover image Monkey Business

Monkey Business

J. Otto Seibold. Viking Children's Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-86393-8

A chimp named Ham was the first simian in space, and when he returned to earth, he went to live at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. But what if he'd capitalized on his fame by starting a business-a Monkey Business, if you will? This quirky story, told by ``Mr. Lunch'' team Seibold and Walsh, imagines Ham's alter ego, Space Monkey. Soon after splashdown, Space Monkey starts using a supercomputer to manufacture a geometrical product that resembles a cubist cupcake (``Although he wasn't sure what it was, it turned out to be tremendously popular''). It's up to an antennaed pink bug named Penelope to discover a purpose for the angular objects-which, activated by a TV remote control, open into tiny apartments. The amusing, if convoluted, plot takes second place to the deftly manipulated computer-generated imagery. The asymmetrical, clean-edged images-in a peculiar techno-palette of olive-brown, brassy yellow, rust-orange, light blue and pink-are a far cry from conventional pencil drawings. Pictograms and letters decorate the cityscapes, lending a futuristic feel. A jazzy linking of computers, literacy and even America's space program. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)