Can a girl and her toy monkey adjust to a move across the sea?
After a tearful goodbye hug from Oma, Ella and her stuffed monkey, Monkey, embark on a journey across the ocean with Ella’s mother to their new home in New York. Colorful watercolors portray the pigtailed, round-cheeked heroine and her beloved toy as they begin to navigate the boat, but it soon becomes clear that Monkey is less than pleased. He “doesn’t want to get on a ship, or sail off to sea, or move away forever.” He is unhappy with their unfamiliar bunk beds and the ship’s playroom. He misses Oma and hates fish. Meanwhile, a storm is brewing at sea. The rocking ship makes everyone seasick, and only Ella and Monkey seem to be walking around, so the two decide to try to scribble the storm away with crayons. After an expressive drawing session, Ella begins to sketch the sun and remembers that she has a hello hug from Papa to anticipate when the ship docks. Based on the author’s childhood experiences when her own family emigrated from the Netherlands, this story of a child working through her frustrations and adjusting to change with help from a toy is warm and comforting. Ella and her family are white; there are families of color onboard the ship with them.
A warm tale of catharsis and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-6)