A fine follow-up to Monkey and Elephant (2012) follows two friends in sickness and in health.
Comprising three short chapters, the book opens with Monkey feeling a bit put out that her friend Elephant seems to be copying her in a case of elephant-see-elephant-do. This culminates in Elephant sneezing after Monkey does. “Elephant, are you still copying me?” she asks, the picture showing her looking askance in his direction. “No,” the sickly looking pachyderm replies, “I don’t feel so good.” In the next chapter, Monkey rises to the occasion and takes care of her sick friend, a role he assumes when he recovers in the final chapter and must nurse the now-ill Monkey. Part of their caretaking includes entertaining each other in ways only they can: Monkey juggles rocks with not two, but four hands, and Elephant trumpets a song for her with his trunk. Their respective speedy recoveries then prompt them to practice their particular skills so they can “get better” at them just as they “got better” from their illnesses. Ultimately, the themes of individuality, health and friendship don’t come together quite as seamlessly as one might hope, but the cheerful, cartoonish digital illustrations help to mitigate this narrative failing.
A sweet story that delivers a healthy message about individuality and friendship to new readers. (Early reader. 5-7)