Quick, Little Monkey!
Sarah L. Thomson, illus. by Lita Judge. Boyds Mills, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62979-100-5
As a baby pygmy marmoset rides on her father’s back, he shows her how to “read” the jungle landscape for predators—the shadow of wings above, the sound of “soft footsteps” on the ground below—and to stay safe. “Hide here” Papa tells her. “Keep still.” When Little Monkey can’t resist reaching for a butterfly, she tumbles away from Papa, “down into a quiet dark of slow roots and still earth and cold shadow,” and into some very dangerous territory. But Little Monkey remembers her lessons and manages to make her way back to Papa. The wide-eyed primate heroine is cute and plucky, and Judge’s (Good Morning to Me!) woodsy-toned watercolors create moments of high drama by playing up the difference in scale between the tiny marmoset and the rest of the world (in one scene, she’s dwarfed by the huge eyes of a hungry ocelot). Thomson’s (Cub’s Big World) poetic text can feel a little overworked in places, but overall it’s an evocative story of survival of the itty-bittiest. Ages 3–7. Agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt Agency. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/07/2015