An amusing anthropomorphic tale about exuberant parent-and-child collaborations.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Calamities occur when a young monkey and his father attempt ambitious projects in this picture book.

A bespectacled monkey and his father work on renovations and improvement projects. But Dad’s enthusiastic yet sometimes-careless nature causes a commotion. For example, he gets doused in paint and electrocutes himself connecting lightbulbs. Although the son is annoyed when Dad accidentally shuts off the power, his father says: “Only a minor mishap!” Father and son embark on a project to construct a treehouse so “Dad can build a room of his own!” They begin with a blueprint of a building on an extended tree branch surrounded by other monkeys’ dwellings. With dedication and teamwork, they make the place materialize. The son says: “It’s a breeze! And so much fun!” Although an illustration shows the treehouse looking messy (it’s askew and wrapped in yellow and black tape) compared to the other monkeys’ digs, father and son are proud. Featuring animated, active language (BANG, ZAAAPP), Brown’s story is a superb read-aloud choice. Parents and kids with their own joint endeavors will relate to the characters’ challenges and triumphs. Lin’s colorful cartoon illustrations depict the two monkeys’ spirited process. They include vivid details that emphasize construction, like hard hats and tools, and textures, such as wood accents. Clever additions have kid appeal, like a computer labeled “APE-LE.” The last spread is particularly joyful, showing monkeys playing on equipment, including slides and a ball pit on a tree.

An amusing anthropomorphic tale about exuberant parent-and-child collaborations.

Pub Date: March 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73774-470-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: 4 Blank Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2022


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Close Quickview