CLEOPATRA BONES AND THE GOLDEN CHIMPANZEE

From the Fast and Furry Racers series

This title about the Fast and Furry Racers sends anthropomorphic dog Cleopatra Bones and other animal characters racing off to find the fabled Golden Chimpanzee.

While busy, cartoon art and labored, rhyming text signal this to be a cute adventure story, readers may balk at various details. For starters, is the canine protagonist’s name an intentional or unintentional play on the name of the 1973 blaxploitation film Cleopatra Jones, starring Tamara Dobson in the title role? Either scenario seems downright odd, at best. So named, Cleopatra finds a treasure map in a temple, and although nowhere does the text name what sort of temple it is, there are symbols that seem to emulate Egyptian hieroglyphics. She shares the map with other animal characters in a scene at a museum, and they all go off in pursuit of the Golden Chimpanzee. Some may wonder about the underlying ethics of this treasure hunt. In an era of discussion and debate about appropriation, exploitation, and repatriation in the museum field, this lighthearted book runs roughshod over such concerns. The animals’ race brings them to a large stone chimpanzee sculpture hidden in a jungle, which they destroy. “And from the broken body parts pours a waterfall of gold.” The animals divide the gold among themselves; that’s the dubious happily-ever-after conclusion.

A treasure it’s not. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-802-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more