may feel familiar to you, perhaps due to its folktale roots, maybe because Will Hillenbrand's artwork is so marvelously, comically, stylistically perfect, or perhaps because the delightful rhyme is so much like that of Lewis Carroll
or Edward Lear
. Here's a sample: "On an island in the middle of the Sillabobble Sea / lived a clever little monkey in a sour lemon tree. / She ate lemons boiled and fried, / steamed, sauteed, pureed, and dried. / She ate lemons till she cried, / 'I'm all puckered up inside!'" Meanwhile, Hillenbrand's full-page illustrations provide unending delights. In the first, most lemony of spreads, the snail is holding a whole lemon in her mouth, the fox has a glass of lemonade, and the lemon tree is laden with a blender, juicer, rolling pin, peeler, spatulas, and pans. The monkey looks suitably soured by the whole state of affairs.
On the second page, the monkey spies a banana tree on a similarly deserted island. Of course, she craves a few of these fine fruits. And she wonders aloud how many crocodiles there might be in the Sillabobble Sea. One crusty croc emerges to imply slyly that there are so many crocs that she could easily walk on their backs to the banana island, and invites her to count them. She counts them: "... one crocodile with a great big smile, / Two crocs resting on rocks, / Three crocs rocking in a box, / Four crocs building with blocks," and so on, until she counts "Ten crocs dressed like Goldilocks." Impatiently, the rascally reptiles ask her how many of them there are, she stalls, she counts them again, and lo and behold! in all the splashing and cavorting, the monkey (with the help of the fox and the snail) gets her bananas! This is one of the most delightful picture books around! (Ages 4 to 8)
From Publishers Weekly
How Monkey gets from his small island to a faraway island where a banana tree grows may be a familiar dilemma but, as PW wrote in a starred review, "Author and artist, working with traditional materials, arrive at an altogether fresh presentation." Ages 3-7.
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