- Age Range: 4 - 6 years
- Grade Level: Preschool - 3
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Putnam Juvenile (May 18, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0399244689
- ISBN-13: 978-0399244681
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.4 x 10.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,968,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gakky Two-Feet Hardcover – May 18, 2006
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K-Gr. 2. Set five million years ago, somewhere in Africa, this picture book follows a fuzzy little fellow named Gak, who lives in a place called Big Trees and belongs to a group of creatures called hominidees. Everyone laughs at Gak because he likes to walk on two feet instead of four, as they do. However, Gak's dexterity becomes an advantage when he rescues a limping friend from a lion. Afterwards, instead of taunting him, the troop of hominidees congratulates him on his bravery and declares "Gakky Two-Feet Day." The snout-nosed, big-eyed, hairy hominidees resemble monkeys. The vibrant, earth-toned watercolor-and-ink illustrations add just the right comic edge. Kids will focus on the story in this playful spoof and likely miss the subtleties (a parody of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" appears in one scene, for example), though the book may prompt questions about evolution or offer parents the opportunity to discuss it. The author, the former drummer for the band The Monkees, explains his interest in "anthromythology" in a note. Julie Cummins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Micky Dolenz, former member of the Monkees, works in the television and music industry. He lives in New York City and Los Angeles.
David Clark, studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and lives in Virginia.
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This book is absolutely charming AND smart-marvelous illustrations and enough information to get kids to think but not dry. We are pretty jaded about kids' books these days and we really like this one. It was fun to tell my son and my husband, "hey, did you see who the author is?"
While the pre-human setting is remote, the theme is familiar: Gakky's ability to walk on two feet makes him different. The other monkeys call him names ("Gakky Two-Feet"), and Gakky has self-doubts. Telegraphing the story's plot, Dolenz has Gak's mother say: "You should never be ashamed of being different." Someday that difference might turn out ta be helpful."
Dolenz introduces another folktale motif ("The Forbidden Lands")when risk-taking "Frizz" dares the young monkeys to run through the dangerous "Tall Grass," and anyone who doesn't is a "scaredy cat." Gak replies assertively that the thing he's afraid of are "the big cats," the lions who "would have us for lunch if they couold." Gak's argument persuades no one, and, to no adult's surprise, the group siin runs right into the hunting territory of a huge, hungry lion. Gak heroically scoops up a cute female monkey ("Gleeb") who can't run fast because of a childhood accident. Just as his mother predicted, Gak's difference proves very helpful" His two-footed stance makes him tall enough to guide all the other monkeys safely home, but not before the lion makes one last ferocious leap at Gak and Gleeb.
The story flows well, and illustrator Dave Clark's simian faces individualizes the monkeys. (He also resists the temptation to draw them as the musical Monkees, although one or two reminded me of Peter TOrk. Yeah, I know, cheap shot...). Clark uses orange, brown, and other warm tones for the grasses and jungle floor, all canopied by the green jungle treetops. His watercolor and ink drawings skillfully depict action and emotion. One very minor complaint is that much of the nocturnal story takes place during low light conditions, and the pictures are a little dark. Some reflected light would have helped here. Moreover, the lion looks a bit too much like a Disney knock-off, but at least he's emulating one of the best.
Dolenz has a light but remarkably informative treatment of evolution and natural selection. He focuses on how physical features might be advantageous in certain environments, and he cleverly gives a very subtle nod to the role of reproduction: When the rescued Gleeb mentions that Gak would make a "fine husband," her friend asks, "But what if your children are like Gak and walk around on two feet?" Gleeb glibly replies, "THat might not be such a bad thing after all." Dolenz, who looks fit and friendly on the inside back cover, has writing talent that transcends his fame as the one who played the drummer. Still, it's difficult not to remember his past...
"We're too busy singing,
to put anybody down..."
An excellent book for any primate.