The multilingual Gracie and her brainy Saint Bernard MonkeyBear return for winter adventures in O’Kelly and Farrell’s (The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear: Book 1: Summer, 2017) second series entry.
MonkeyBear has been preparing for a journey, judging from his consultation of a map of Yeti sightings and books about Yeti, Nepal, and airships. He and Gracie soon find huge footprints in Grandma’s yard, and a cry for help leads them to the cave of a Yeti whose yak has accidentally frozen its tongue to the ice. The authors celebrate science education by having Gracie smartly solve the problem by bouncing sunlight off of mirrors, but when it works too well, Gracie and MonkeyBear must carve an ice boat for themselves. Next, they rescue a snow leopard by turning their boat into an airship. Lastly, they encounter Denpa Druk, a Tibetan Thunder Dragon (“Finally, MonkeyBear, I get to speak Dzongkha,” says Gracie), who needs help getting his magic stripes back—all before Grandma calls Gracie and MonkeyBear home. Overall, this sequel features just as many exciting encounters as the first book and as many delightful details in the pictures. One glorious illustration features fantastic cloud hues and sunlight while requiring the book to be turned sideways.
Fans are sure to look forward to what Gracie imagines in the spring.
A girl and her dog rescue pretend dinosaurs, aliens, and whales in this debut ode to imaginative play by O’Kelly with illustrations by Farrell.
Young Gracie wakes her dog, MonkeyBear, in the morning and makes plans for a “perfect day for an adventure.” MonkeyBear is clearly a genius: his room features posters of Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, and the Parthenon, as well as a bookshelf with titles on string theory and wormhole physics among other, more immediately useful subjects. Gracie’s enthusiasm is contagious, and together she and MonkeyBear begin their first mission: excavating a mystery in their backyard. There, they find a living but stuck Tyrannosaurus rex, cleverly revealed in a two-page spread that requires readers to turn the book sideways. Gracie and MonkeyBear quickly offer to get the dinosaur out and give it directions back home. Later, the girl and her dog are startled to see a Voosurian starship that appears to be crashing. Luckily, they both speak Voosurian, a cleverly phonetic language with lots of “OO” sounds that kids will enjoy sounding out, and MonkeyBear even has a helpful ship-repair manual (“ROOF [I will go and get it],” the dog says). After designing a slingshot launcher to get their friend home, Gracie and MonkeyBear begin their third adventure, involving a whale. In this fantastic book, O’Kelly deftly manages the transitions from one adventure to the next, and Farrell’s inventive, entertaining images capture the whimsy and delight of imagination. In particular, Gracie’s costume changes—a paleontologist’s fedora and leather jacket, a starship mechanic’s purple jumpsuit, and wet suit and cap to rescue the whale—suit each of her missions perfectly. Also, in the various color illustrations, Gracie’s skin tone is ambiguous, making it possible for young readers of many ethnicities to see themselves in her.
Young readers who love to pretend will see Gracie as a kindred spirit and look forward to future seasonal adventures in this planned kids’ book series.