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Funny Little Monkey

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Arty may be shorter—much shorter—than your average teen, but that doesn't mean his problems are small. If anything, they're huge. Whether he is dodging the fists of his hulking twin brother, dealing with the other misfits in his school, or falling in love for the first time, Arty lives his life looking up—and gives readers unusual perspective on becoming a man.
     This acclaimed debut novel is hilarious, offbeat, ...

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Overview

Arty may be shorter—much shorter—than your average teen, but that doesn't mean his problems are small. If anything, they're huge. Whether he is dodging the fists of his hulking twin brother, dealing with the other misfits in his school, or falling in love for the first time, Arty lives his life looking up—and gives readers unusual perspective on becoming a man.
     This acclaimed debut novel is hilarious, offbeat, surprisingly moving, and sure to appeal to teens of all sizes.

Arty, an abnormally short fourteen-year-old boy, enlists the help of a group of students, known at school as the "pathetic losers," to take revenge against his abusive, tall fraternal twin brother.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
[star]"Darkly comic . . . The author taps into the painful experience of high school,
leavened with healthy doses of hyperbole, hope and wry humor—which Auseon seems to understand just may be the best tools
for teenage survival."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Strikingly clever."—Booklist

Publishers Weekly
A four-foot two-inch high school freshman narrates this darkly comic debut novel. Arty Moore's diminutive stature and general meekness seem all the more striking when compared with his six-foot one-inch, bullying twin, Kurt. The boys attend Millard Fillmore High, which Arty paints as an institution that amplifies the strangest and most painful aspects of adolescence (bulletins from the school newspaper interrupt the narrative, flaunting over-the-top news and ads: "Work at Southworth Mall-Who needs school? Working is where it's at! Call 555-CASH"). In the twins' tense relationship, Kurt lashes out at his brother physically, Arty verbally. The boys' single mother tries to keep the family together: "Mom used to have the ability to see through Kurt's crap. It came from having married Dad [who].... went on to steal a car and rob a pharmacy.... she's been trying to prevent a rerun with Kurt ever since." Meanwhile, Arty strikes up a friendship with Leslie Dermott, a wealthy, beautiful overachiever, and a kid he nicknames Kerouac, the leader of some rebellious outcasts. At Arty's request, Kerouac's gang torments Kurt, and after Kurt is accused of destroying a statue of the school's mascot, Arty begins to doubt his new friendships-and must face the pain he and his brother have caused each other. The author taps into the painful experience of high school, leavened with healthy doses of hyperbole, hope and wry humor-which Auseon seems to understand just may be the best tools for teenage survival. Ages 14-up. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Olivia Durant
Arty is tired of being "freakishly short." He injects himself with growth hormones daily and wishes that his 4' 2" height would change. The other kids at school make fun of him, he doesn't have any real friends, and to top it all off, he has a twin brother, Kurt, who is enormous. Kurt is a bully, terrorizing Arty every time they are home alone together. Sick of being abused, Arty decides to take revenge for the years of torment he's suffered. On his way home from school one day, he falls in with a group of kids he thinks are misfits. He discovers that they have a brilliant plan to help him turn the tables on Kurt, if he can summon the courage. Meanwhile, he meets Leslie, a new student who actually seems interested in dating him. When things go terribly wrong with the retaliation scheme, Arty must decide who his real friends are and whether or not to ruin Kurt's life forever. Readers will laugh and root for Arty even as his plans go awry in this tale full of an engaging variety of characters. Recommend this novel to middle school students who enjoy underdog stories.
Children's Literature
Arty Moore is four-feet two-inches tall. He carries a booster seat with him to his high school classes and copes with his "disability" by noticing minute details about his classmates and giving them nicknames based on his observations. Kurt, Arty's twin brother, on the other hand, is six-feet one-inch tall and it appears that beating up Arty is his major pastime. Everything changes when Leslie Dermott transfers into the school. Leslie is beautiful, brilliant, and perfect in every way. Arty admires her throughout his American Studies classes. Then he unexpectedly meets Leslie in the grocery store. They have a conversation. She invites him first to a movie and then to visit her palatial home. Arty is totally overwhelmed, not thinking about an ulterior motive to all this friendliness until he is trapped. In the meantime, other misfit students befriend him and give him support in a plan to get even with Kurt for all the abuse he has suffered. Strange characters and unexpected twists in the plot create a memorable tale. The story contains an abundance of metaphors, most fresh and original. Teachers may look to this book for examples of this type of figurative language. 2005, Harcourt, Ages 12 to 18.
—Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 9-11-Arty Moore is smart, short, and scared of the dark. For three years this 14-year-old has been afflicted with Growth Hormone Deficiency. While his fraternal twin Kurt now stands over six feet tall, Arty must give himself painful shots in hopes of increasing his puny 4' 2" height. But size is only one of Arty's concerns: ex-con Dad has split, beloved Grampa has died, and Mom seems oblivious to the fact that Kurt, the brother he once cherished, is physically abusing him. In their faded Ohio quarry town, Arty enlists in the underground high school group Affront to get even and takes part in their devious two-phase plot to send Kurt fake love letters and to frame him for stealing the statue of the high school mascot, Millie the Boxing Turtle. Arty's first-person narrative is angry, sad, and self-deprecating, using blunt descriptions and black humor. He becomes infatuated with Leslie, a beautiful, rich classmate, and briefly enjoys a sense of peer acceptance before realizing he's but a prop for a girl who craves attention. When Arty discovers that his brother, a sketchy character who is secretive, angry, and often in trouble, has been consulting with Mom about attending military school, he decides they need to talk. A well-depicted chase brings the teens face to face, and Arty must acknowledge his own flaws to help mend their dysfunctional relationship. He steps up and uses an outrageous fabrication to resolve the final crisis in this offbeat coming-of-age story.-Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Alienated freshman Arty Moore's self-esteem doesn't rise any higher than his squat, 4'2" frame, especially when standing beside his towering 6'2" bully of a twin brother, Kurt. When Arty's frustration with his brother's torturing reaches a peak, he takes revenge by pointing the disappearance and destruction of the school's mascot toward Kurt. First-time novelist Auseon offers a tepid coming-of-age story with realistically sarcastic characters whose inner voices ring humorously true when they're not polarized by his aloof, staccato vocabulary. Readers will grasp that Arty's anger stems from his unfortunate height, but his slick-talking, detached thought patterns emphasize an angry, hermetic-like nature that exaggerates his overly cruel vendetta against Kurt. As a result, his likeability level plummets. This, along with the 200 plus pages it takes for readers to realize that Kurt is anything short of a statically drawn teen-aged monster makes it all seem one-dimensional and lackluster. Consequently, the tension level dissipates, and readers are left with a simplistic issue novel that's too shallow for sophisticated readers and too syrupy for reluctant ones. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152054137
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/1/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 312
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

ANDREW AUSEON lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA in writing for children program. Funny Little Monkey is his first novel.

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Read an Excerpt

That Sweet Big Feeling
I stand inside the bedroom closet, back cocked up tall against the closet wall. The tape measure sings the same old song:

four feet two inches tall.

Then into the bedroom, the minifridge, and I take out the small leather case, the cartridges. I keep the needles in an old mitten, one of those kinds without separate fingers but one big pocket for everybody. I rip apart a new bag of cotton balls. A box of Band-Aids lays open, bandages stacked like a deck of cards. I unscrew the lid from the bottle of rubbing alcohol and feel the stench tug at my nose hairs.

Cartridges of growth hormone click against one another as I arrange them on the desktop. I pick one up and disinfect the rubber disk on the tip with alcohol. Then I jab the tip of the needle into the cartridge. Holding the tube firmly, I pull out the plunger and watch the hormone get sucked out. It's not cloudy, or discolored, or floating with junk or anything-it's perfect. I point the syringe at the ceiling. Then I flick the end and make it quiver, mostly because people always do that in the movies. It still looks cool when I do it, as cool as the first time. Odors of metal, medicine, and alcohol rise from the balls of cotton as I swab my inner thigh.

I feel Mom watching me from the doorway. She taught me how to do this. It was six months ago,
and we practiced on a warm Hot Pocket, pepperoni flavored. Six months of therapy, and for what?

"You know the drill," I say out loud. I can almost hear Mom's lips move with mine, forming the words. "Think of something..."

I push the plunger in for one click of my internal clock, one second, one fluid motion. The frigid bite of the hormone washes in and under the skin, or maybe it's just my imagination.

Think of something...

I think of my brother.

I think about the night before high school started. Mom was out at dinner and a movie with some guy, one of the many duds, a wannabe dad firing blanks.

"I don't know you," Kurt had said. "At school, you don't know me, either. Got it?"

"Got it," I remember saying.

"I don't want to hurt you," he said. Then he put a mouse in the microwave, to show how much he didn't want to hurt me. Needless to say, I didn't stick around for the fireworks.

I flinch, draw blood, just a trickle. I pull out the needle and press the cotton against my thigh. All that fuzz barely stops the stupid bleeding, and sometimes I just feel like bleeding. I wonder how long I could before I'd end up totally empty.

"That's a big boy," Mom says from behind me.
Yeah, sure.

PAGE 5 ~ ANNOUNCEMENTS

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AGAINST THE ROPES

THE SCHOOL NEWSLETTER OF
THE FILLMORE HIGH SCHOOL BOXING TURTLES

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"A turtle only makes progress when it sticks out its neck."
-Anonymous

Week of May 9-15
o Don't forget the schoolwide "Casino Night Party" (theme as of yet undetermined) on June 3rd. Bring a date! And if you can't find a date, work the coat check!

o Need a tutor? American History got you down? Did poorly on those college entrance exams? Ms. Wessin can help. E-mail her today for hourly rates and commuting and gas charges: kwessin@globenet.org.

o There are still some parts left for the summer production of William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Amaze your parents with plum roles like the bartender's wife and vagrant #3!

o Lost: Green binder of personal information. Please don't read. Call Wendell at 798-0041 for reward.

o WORK AT SOUTHWORTH MALL-Cash! Fun! Friends! Did we mention cash? Call 555-CASH.

o NEW: Instant Messaging Club, Thursdays, 4:00 in the computer lab. Call Leslie: 579-9877.

o NEW: Ghost Hunters Club, Fridays, 4:00 in the library. Call Leslie: 579-9877.

Copyright © 2005 by Andrew Auseon

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy,
recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc.,
6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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First Chapter

That Sweet Big Feeling
I stand inside the bedroom closet, back cocked up tall against the closet wall. The tape measure sings the same old song:

four feet two inches tall.

Then into the bedroom, the minifridge, and I take out the small leather case, the cartridges. I keep the needles in an old mitten, one of those kinds without separate fingers but one big pocket for everybody. I rip apart a new bag of cotton balls. A box of Band-Aids lays open, bandages stacked like a deck of cards. I unscrew the lid from the bottle of rubbing alcohol and feel the stench tug at my nose hairs.

Cartridges of growth hormone click against one another as I arrange them on the desktop. I pick one up and disinfect the rubber disk on the tip with alcohol. Then I jab the tip of the needle into the cartridge. Holding the tube firmly, I pull out the plunger and watch the hormone get sucked out. It's not cloudy, or discolored, or floating with junk or anything-it's perfect. I point the syringe at the ceiling. Then I flick the end and make it quiver, mostly because people always do that in the movies. It still looks cool when I do it, as cool as the first time. Odors of metal, medicine, and alcohol rise from the balls of cotton as I swab my inner thigh.

I feel Mom watching me from the doorway. She taught me how to do this. It was six months ago,
and we practiced on a warm Hot Pocket, pepperoni flavored. Six months of therapy, and for what?

"You know the drill," I say out loud. I can almost hear Mom's lips move with mine, forming the words. "Think of something..."

I push the plunger in for one click of my internal clock, one second, one fluid motion. The frigid biteof the hormone washes in and under the skin, or maybe it's just my imagination.

Think of something...

I think of my brother.

I think about the night before high school started. Mom was out at dinner and a movie with some guy, one of the many duds, a wannabe dad firing blanks.

"I don't know you," Kurt had said. "At school, you don't know me, either. Got it?"

"Got it," I remember saying.

"I don't want to hurt you," he said. Then he put a mouse in the microwave, to show how much he didn't want to hurt me. Needless to say, I didn't stick around for the fireworks.

I flinch, draw blood, just a trickle. I pull out the needle and press the cotton against my thigh. All that fuzz barely stops the stupid bleeding, and sometimes I just feel like bleeding. I wonder how long I could before I'd end up totally empty.

"That's a big boy," Mom says from behind me.
Yeah, sure.

PAGE 5 ~ ANNOUNCEMENTS

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AGAINST THE ROPES

THE SCHOOL NEWSLETTER OF
THE FILLMORE HIGH SCHOOL BOXING TURTLES

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"A turtle only makes progress when it sticks out its neck."
-Anonymous

Week of May 9-15
o Don't forget the schoolwide "Casino Night Party" (theme as of yet undetermined) on June 3rd. Bring a date! And if you can't find a date, work the coat check!

o Need a tutor? American History got you down? Did poorly on those college entrance exams? Ms. Wessin can help. E-mail her today for hourly rates and commuting and gas charges: kwessin@globenet.org.

o There are still some parts left for the summer production of William Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Amaze your parents with plum roles like the bartender's wife and vagrant #3!

o Lost: Green binder of personal information. Please don't read. Call Wendell at 798-0041 for reward.

o WORK AT SOUTHWORTH MALL-Cash! Fun! Friends! Did we mention cash? Call 555-CASH.

o NEW: Instant Messaging Club, Thursdays, 4:00 in the computer lab. Call Leslie: 579-9877.

o NEW: Ghost Hunters Club, Fridays, 4:00 in the library. Call Leslie: 579-9877.

Copyright © 2005 by Andrew Auseon

All rights reserved.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Long Nguyen for TeensReadToo.com

    FUNNY LITTLE MONKEY is a hilarious story of the life of Arty Moore, a fourteen-year-old teenager with growth hormone deficiency, hence his childish appearance and towering 4' 2" build. His twin brother, Kurt, however, seemed to get all the "good" genes and the similarity in looks between the two brothers seemed to stop when Arty stopped growing, and Kurt didn't. <BR/><BR/>Kurt loves tormenting Arty. Arty doesn't exactly appreciate the "brotherly love" being sent his way, and so he employs the help of a secret school organization with, frankly, more tricks up their sleeves than the KGB and Stalin's other two secret police, along with the Gestapo, combined into one. With the help of this underground alliance among students at his school, Arty plans revenge against his brother, but his problems are only beginning. <BR/><BR/>What wouldn't complete a great novel without a girl being involved, and yes, there is a girl. Arty is utterly infatuated with new student Leslie Dermott, but he can't quite figure out how got the attention of such a hot girl. Readers join Arty on his road trip to love as well as the pit-stop to the gas station of pain. <BR/><BR/>Extremely clever and hilariously written, Andrew Auseon gives us a character so obnoxious and self-righteous that even though we all know Arty is a complete jackass, we can't help but root him on in his eternal struggle to grow up, both literally and emotionally. Truly, this novel is a story of two brothers and the complex relationship two brothers can have. <BR/><BR/>Along with that, however, throw in confusing situations, smart literary puns that some readers will find intriguing, secret social groups, a Vietnamese kid who is ignorantly named Tibetan by Arty [typical], and the mysterious disappearance of the school mascot statue [a stone turtle], and you get FUNNY LITTLE MONKEY, Andrew Auseon's stellar debut novel and an incredibly funny and very, very, very clever and well-written story. <BR/><BR/>Cheers to A.A.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    a reviewer

    FUNNY LITTLE MONKEY is a hilarious story of the life of Arty Moore, a fourteen-year-old teenager with growth hormone deficiency, hence his childish appearance and towering 4' 2' build. His twin brother, Kurt, however, seemed to get all the ¿good¿ genes and the similarity in looks between the two brothers seemed to stop when Arty stopped growing, and Kurt didn't. Kurt loves tormenting Arty. Arty doesn't exactly appreciate the ¿brotherly love¿ being sent his way, and so he employs the help of a secret school organization with, frankly, more tricks up their sleeves than the KGB and Stalin's other two secret police, along with the Gestapo, combined into one. With the help of this underground alliance among students at his school, Arty plans revenge against his brother, but his problems are only beginning. What wouldn't complete a great novel without a girl being involved, and yes, there is a girl. Arty is utterly infatuated with new student Leslie Dermott, but he can't quite figure out how got the attention of such a hot girl. Readers join Arty on his road trip to love as well as the pit-stop to the gas station of pain. Extremely clever and hilariously written, Andrew Auseon gives us a character so obnoxious and self-righteous that even though we all know Arty is a complete jackass, we can't help but root him on in his eternal struggle to grow up, both literally and emotionally. Truly, this novel is a story of two brothers and the complex relationship two brothers can have. Along with that, however, throw in confusing situations, smart literary puns that some readers will find intriguing, secret social groups, a Vietnamese kid who is ignorantly named Tibetan by Arty [typical], and the mysterious disappearance of the school mascot statue [a stone turtle], and you get FUNNY LITTLE MONKEY, Andrew Auseon's stellar debut novel and an incredibly funny and very, very, very clever and well-written story. Cheers to A.A. **Reviewed by: Long Nguyen

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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