I Love You, Little Monkey
Alan Durant. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-4169-2481-4
Little Monkey wants to play, but his father, Big Monkey, has chores to do. So Little Monkey does just what little humans do when thwarted in this manner: he acts out-big time. He throws all the figs that Big Monkey has carefully gathered for dinner against a tree (""Splat! Splat! Splat!""), he wrecks the bed Big Monkey has lovingly made and he wakes up Big Monkey from a well-deserved nap by falling on top of him. ""Do you love me when I'm naughty?"" asks a chastened Little Monkey. ""I may not like the naughty things you do, but I love you always,"" Big Monkey assures him. Apologies are exchanged-Big Monkey offers one of his own for yelling at his son after being rudely awakened-and hugs abound (observant readers will note that the monkeys' tails entwine to form a heart). Durant (Burger Boy) astutely chronicles the fears of abandonment that plague any child in the wake of mischievousness. But his rather literal text benefits greatly from McEwen's (Where Is My Darling Daughter?) crisply outlined watercolors-her jungle is a sweetly surreal place, rendered in dramatic jewel tones and filled with pleasingly odd flora and blithe fauna. The monkeys' gangly bodies and frankly humanoid looks make their tussles and reconciliation feel all the more immediate and heartfelt. Ages 3-6.
Reviewed on: 04/09/2007