This predominantly wordless picture book delivers a substantial helping of slapstick.
The story begins on the copyright pages with a lone monkey sitting on a beach contemplating a banana tree across a body of water. The monkey—drawn with thick, heavy lines like the rest of the illustrations—tries swimming to the banana tree, only to beat a hasty retreat when he finds the waters shark-infested. The perspective shift as the panicked monkey surges back out of the water is a nice change from what up to this point has been stable. The monkey is not so easily dissuaded from his would-be meal and tries—and fails—multiple ways to get around the shark, who in turn refuses to be foiled. Raymundo moves the action forward in this portion of the story in comic book–esque panels. Words are used exclusively for labeling characters (“the monkey”; “the shark”) and elements (“the stilts”; “the bait”) in the story (with the lone exception of the shark’s mighty “CHOMP!”). When the tenacious monkey finally gets his long-sought-after banana, it is only for it to fall—literally—into the...mouth...of the enemy: a delighted-looking shark.
Though it won’t be joining the stately likes of Aaron Becker’s Journey or Bob Staake’s Bluebird (both 2013), this book is a good laugh nonetheless: There’s nothing wrong with lighthearted fun. (Picture book. 3-7)