Monkeys who met previously in MonkeyWorld ABC (2012) get names as well and occupations on a thrill-a-minute train ride.
At the Station Master’s “All aboard!” passengers from Mayday the detective and Oscar the magician to Jango Jenkins and his Dixieland Band climb into the Thunderbolt Express, bound for Miggleswick station. They are all rendered as stylized, nattily attired monkeys in Porter’s cleanly drawn, brightly colored cartoon illustrations. Any expectations of a quiet journey are quickly dispelled as a mystery featuring a vanished pet is followed by a brake failure, a missing bridge, a wild flying leap over a crocodile-infested river and a full-speed trip right through a circus tent. Whew! All agree, at the end, that the ride was well worth having to chuck out their luggage, instruments and, for some, clothes along the way. The adventure is narrated in a dry, matter-of-fact present tense that folds in some nifty vocabulary as well as conveying these monkeys’ personalities: “Jango Jenkins and his band are really swinging. Only Mono the inventor refuses to jive. / Meanwhile, back in the compartment, a mystery is unfurling.”
A hoot for younger children fond of monkeys (not to mention, in one scene, monkeys in underpants!). (Picture book. 4-6)