Monkey business allows young children to make a serious transition from early readers to chapter books.
As reading reluctance can build from the first stages of literacy, this debut title in a series of illustrated chapter books aims to hook both struggling and new readers. Clyde—rambunctious, a little mischievous and the epitome of the reluctant reader—often envisions himself as a monkey. On a school field trip to a science and history museum, he encounters two problems that lead to nonstop adventure. After bumping into a thief disguised as a museum guard, his gift-shop version of the Golden Monkey icon is switched with the real artifact. The boy also eats a scientist’s radioactive banana (it was blasted with a gamma ray), which enables his inner monkey to turn him into a real monkey. Traditional illustrated text turns to a graphic-novel format when Clyde accidentally and then on purpose turns into a monkey. Not even his brainy, no-nonsense twin sister, Claudia, can control Clyde’s monkey self as teachers and other school workers chase him through the school hallways. The action peaks when the thief shows up at school, pretending to be a substitute teacher and wanting his stolen Golden Monkey back.
While this series doesn’t have aspirations to high literature, it does fulfill an important developmental reading need with high-interest humor and adventure. (Adventure. 6-8)