An informational picture book about monkeys throughout the world.
Tackling a topic as general as monkeys is a tall order for a picture book, but this one succeeds admirably. Author/illustrator Davey begins with the basics: what a monkey is (part of the mammal group of primates), when they evolved (about 35 million years ago), where they live, and what they eat. He moves on to more specific information, such as the differences between Old World and New World monkeys (following this with a colorful visual quiz), social life, size and physical characteristics, and monkeys in mythology, and he ends with a section on the deforestation of monkey habitat that manages to deliver at least a sense of hope. All this information is related in an engaging conversational style—“ ‘But why such colourful bums?’ I hear you ask.” Davey keeps things lively by relating specific traits of various monkey species; for example, long-tailed macaques swim underwater, mandrills have colorful rumps, black-capped capuchins use tools, and these serve not only to pique readers’ curiosity, but also to highlight the primates’ diversity. The design of the book is stellar, interweaving text and stylized-but-accurate illustrations into a vibrant, cohesive whole that stands out for its appeal and clarity.
A vast amount of information on monkeys is expertly delivered in both text and image without patronizing either readers or monkeys—a delight. (index) (Informational picture book. 5-10)