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MONKEYS AND THE UNIVERSE by Kate Banks

MONKEYS AND THE UNIVERSE

By Kate Banks (Author) , Tomek Bogacki (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: April 9th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-374-35028-4
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

This sequel to Monkeys and Dog Days (2008) develops the family relationships among big brother Pete, little brother Max and their parents. This time, instead of grappling with the responsibilities of pet ownership, the simian family confronts sibling rivalry provoked by Pete’s interest in the solar system and Max’s attendant feelings of inadequacy as he is excluded from Pete’s astronomical projects. “Pete sure knows a lot,” Max thinks to himself in chapter one, later lamenting, “why did everyone have to know everything before he did?” Parental intervention through a trip to an observatory allows the brothers to both gain new knowledge and resolve their differences. Banks excels at using a controlled vocabulary to tell her story in language accessible to new readers, without ever sounding stilted or restricted, and Bogaki’s illustrations, rendered in bright watercolors with soft, visual texture, provide pictorial cues for readers while also contributing to the storytelling. An added bonus of astronomical information seamlessly embedded into the text contributes to the great success of this beginning reader. (Early reader. 6-8)