Mr. Monkey is back, and he’s in it to win it with his latest hobby: gaming.
No matter how hard he tries, Mr. Monkey just can’t beat his video game. Before his third try even has a chance to be the charm, a bird makes off with the controller. Mr. Monkey chases the bird through the city and into the park, begrudgingly taking an outdoor break from screen time. The view, the trees, and the flowers elicit “Ooh!” after “Ooh!” as Mr. Monkey begins to enjoy the respite. But as soon as he spots the bandit bird in the tree, the real-life game is back on. Mr. Monkey “runs…ducks…climbs…swings…jumps [and] falls”—just like in the video game. The moment the controller ends up back in his hands, though, a new obstacle arises. Mr. Monkey loses again. And again. Will he ever catch a break? Mack’s digitally rendered cartoon illustrations outshine those in previous volumes, depicting gorgeously colored nature scenes and a fun, pixelated video-game world. Characters’ speech solely consists of interjections, adding to the slapstick humor. Mack’s mastery of repetition expertly recycles sentences (and a vocabulary of around 70 words), adding new meaning through illustration and context. Unfortunately, the recycled silly-monkey stereotype needs to take a hike of its own.
Mr. Monkey gives Curious George a run for his money. But at what cost? (Early reader. 4-8)