Dessert Island

Ben Zhu. Roaring Brook, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-250-76330-3
Delighted Monkey is marooned on the titular island, a layered dessert made of “chocolate, frosting, and berries,” while Fox is stuck on a desert island that’s all rocks and dirt. Monkey’s only apparent challenge is to avoid eating the ground beneath its feet (“I am very lucky!”); Fox, on the other hand, is grateful for a single berry that falls from Monkey’s floating feast (“I am very hungry”). Made up of simple acrylic and colored pencil shapes, the protagonists have the appeal of stuffed toys, with expressive faces accompanying their alternating narration. Monkey’s paradise ends when a torrential rainstorm shrinks its island, while Fox’s luck changes with the same fateful event. As Zhu, making his debut, turns up the visual drama through an ocean storm that’s almost palpable, Monkey desperately clings to a frosted chunk amid stormy seas. The more diligent Fox, who has been able to coax a berry plant out of the rocky soil, soon has a big decision to make: sacrifice the plant and use it as a life rope to save Monkey? Even if readers guess that kindness wins out, it’s a page-turner nonetheless, with an ending that is certifiably sweet. Ages 3–6. Agent: Judy Hansen, Hansen Literary. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/11/2021
Release date: 05/25/2021
Genre: Children's
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