From School Library Journal
reSchool-Grade 3-Richly colored pastel drawings and precise, surprising word choices make this story a natural for sharing with a group. A young vervet monkey, carefully supervised by his mother, waits impatiently for a safe time to drink at a busy water hole as the day passes and other animals of the African savanna come to quench their thirst. The delightful language adds enjoyment: "The silence pokes Monkey's ear"; "Sun lands on the horizon and tucks away its lower half." The beat of the text is palpable, moving from fast to slow and back, sometimes rhyming, sometimes joltingly not. However, as in Lynne Cherry's The Great Kapok Tree (Harcourt, 1990), the plot is secondary to an appreciation of the environment. The realistic illustrations are often from a monkey's-eye view, showing the belly of a running zebra and the gaping mouth of a crocodile. This is a must for studies of African animals or the savanna biome, and a gem for writing teachers.Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ
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Ages 4-8. The Kurtzes, brother and sister, describe a dawn-to-dusk day at a water hole on an African savannah, citing the activities of the many animals that inhabit the ecosystem. At dawn, as a troop of vervet monkeys forages for food, a youngster attempting to take a drink is stopped by Mama, who notices a herd of hippopotami arriving for a swim. At midday the young monkey tries again, only to be deterred by zebras and a lumbering crocodile. Later, a lion and a giraffe come for drinks, and a family of elephants rumbles down for a splash. Only after dark, when the larger animals have gone, does Mama deem it safe for her baby to quench his thirst. Vivid artwork complements the elegant text, often extending it with additional details: the close-up views of thundering zebra hooves and snapping crocodile jaws are particularly impressive. The story will work well on several levels: young listeners will understand the frustration in having to wait for a cool drink; older children will appreciate the diversity of savannah wildlife. See also Anne Laurel Carter's Under a Prairie Sky
(p.1599), which describes Canadian grasslands. Kay WeismanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved