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Monkey Business Paperback – August 1, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As he did in Alphabeasts, Wallace pairs deadpan text with multilayered illustrations that are at once humorous and absurd, likely to elicit grins from both adults and children. His latest title focuses on idioms (a definition of the term appears on the first page), with a cast of anthropomorphic animals set in bizarre situations. All the scenes make jokes that should have easy kid appeal. Owen, the literal "bull in a china shop," unconsciously manages to entwine his horns, tail and cane around several ceramic pieces ("Not again," he sighs). A walrus who "had no intention of sharing his cupcake" sports a candy cane in place of a tusk (a "real sweet tooth"). Attentive readers can also spot a monkey hidden in each scene—these visual tricks and other hide and seek-type games echo Graeme Base's works. Among his more obvious gags, Wallace also inserts references and items aimed squarely at adults, which will assuredly be lost on young readers. Visual impossibilities and intricate patterns tucked into a number of scenes echo Escher, while a "fish out of water" (named Gloria) happens to be riding a bicycle in a nod to Ms. Steinem. The detail and humor that Wallace packs into each scene should help ensure the book won't be just a flash in the pan. All ages.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-5–Edwards uses a variety of idioms as a jumping-off point for a collection of elaborate, imaginative illustrations. An alligator, for example, "eats her words" by sweeping books off a shelf directly into her mouth. There's great variety in the watercolor, pencil, and gouache drawings, along with understated humor. The animal characters have human names and subtly amusing facial expressions that fit the silly situations just right. Closer perusal always reveals a bit more. It's obvious that the well-dressed "bull in a china shop" will soon destroy a couple of fine pieces with his horns. Sharp-eyed viewers will spot other dangers presaged by the poor fellow's misplaced cane, wrapping tail, and untied shoelace. For further diversion, at least one monkey is hidden in each full-page picture. In some cases, the relationship between idiom and illustration works very neatly. Quentin the penguin literally "rises to the occasion" when he is catapulted high enough to serve drinks to a giraffe bride and groom. The visual scene is funny, but at the same time actually conveys the sense of the idiom, since the penguin has found a creative way to meet a challenge. Other times, the illustrations have a less direct tie to the meaning of the phrase, but still work as humorous pieces. The idioms are defined at the end of the book, but in this case the main role of the words is to set up an impressive collection of inventive scenes of visual comedy.–Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 910L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press; Reprint edition (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1554532280
  • ISBN-13: 978-1554532285
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 9.1 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on November 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
When you head to bed, you're "snug as a bug in a rug," and when you you tell a secret, you've "let the cat out of the bag." These are just two of the sayings in Wallace Edwards' MONKEY BUSINESS. Filled with some of the most well-known idioms, as well as illustrations that accompany them, MONKEY BUSINESS is sure to be a hit for all of those "thinking" young readers. Don't Forget: Find the hidden monkeys on each page.

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L on March 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book to use when working with children on idioms! This book contains just about every idiom I can think of. The pictures portray the idiom as a child would think of it (i.e. dog eat dog world shows a dog eating a hot dog!) but at the very end of the book it tells what each idiom really means. I think this book is appropriate for grades 2 and up. The pictures are all wonderfully done. A great book all around!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Susan Knight on December 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a former kindergarten teacher of 25 years, this is one of the most unique books I have ever read. My 7 yr old grandson and I were held captive by Edwards' ability to bring humor to two generations with "cliches" and incredible artwork that stimulates the mind of both adult and child. Incredible!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Diana Donohue on October 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I love this book because it's different. It helps teach kids various expressions in a fun way. AND it has a fun "find the monkey in each picture" thing. The pictures are beautiful and silly. I just love it. I bought three to give as gifts to those families that love good books. This author also has another book, Animalia, that would make a good companion book for a gift.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wendy H. Bell on May 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the most original and droll presentations of idioms you will ever find. The detailed illustrations are beautiful and very, very funny. Mr. Edwards invites interaction by hiding a monkey within each one so that even though a toddler may not appreciate the sophisticated humor of the picture, he can still enjoy what he sees while searching for (and usually finding) the monkey. All ages will love this book. Wallace Edwards is a master illustrator.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brenda Storz on August 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
After checking this book out of our library, my kiddos begged me to buy it. These illustrations engaged them for hours at a time, with gorgeous and creative illustrations to help bring to life common idioms. My 7 yo loves to point out idioms all the time now. Forget treats or cash as a reward, this book, along with any of Wallace Edward's other titles, garnered squeals of excitement from my kids. Great humor and thought-provoking!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Frumin on February 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I ordered this book after my kids fell in love with Edwards' "Alphabeasts" book. As with all of Edwards' works, the illustrations are incredible by themselves, but the addition of the clever idioms creates an engaging read for all ages.
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By Judy on January 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you enjoy idioms and great illustrations as a teaching tool, then Wallace Edwards is the source. This book and his next book "The Cat's Pajamas" are both wonderful. I would love to see him do a third book as well. You won't easily forget these sayings - like 'on the ball' or 'rising to the occasion'.
Just wish I could have found this in hardcover.
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