Maggie's Monkeysby Linda Sanders-Wells, Abby Carter
A family of monkeys has moved into the refrigerator! At least, that’s what Maggie says. Of course, no one else can see them, but that doesn’t stop Mom and Dad from playing along, even going out of their way to accommodate the invisible visitors. An extra bowl of pudding at the table? A DO NOT DISTURB sign on the fridge? What’s a rustrated, reality obsessed brother to do? Readers will hoot with laughter at this warm, witty, wildly imaginative story of sibling love and loyalty.
A big brother is skeptical of the little pink monkeys his sister says have moved into the refrigerator. Dad supports Maggie's claim, and "was careful not to shut the door on their tails when he took out the mayonnaise." Mom makes extra banana pudding for them and older sister Kate helps dress them in invisible clothes. Big brother doesn't buy the premise that they live in the refrigerator because they are polar monkeys. When he confronts his mother, she responds, "Sometimes...it's hard to know what's real." When his friends come over, they laugh at Maggie's monkeys and threaten to let them escape. Big brother notices and responds to Maggie's tears and "quick, worried suck" of her thumb. He steps up to her defense, affirming his love for her. Carter's black colored pencil and gouache cartoon illustrations feature a lively family in a cheerfully decorated home. Pages depicting characters who support Maggie's belief are framed and have a little monkey hanging onto the border. Pages with big brother's skepticism are plain and unframed until he, too, buys into the story. This splendidly crafted tale of imagination and family love may start discussions about what is real, what is not, and the power of persuasion.-Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI
Meet the Author
Linda Sanders-Wells, a freelance writer, says of her first book, "To me, MAGGIE'S MONKEYS is about two very powerful forces: love and imagination. Magical things happen when those two are at play in our lives." She lives in Cincinnati.
Abby Carter has illustrated many books for children, including the Andy Shane series by Jennifer Richard Jacobson and FULLHOUSE: AN INVITATION TO FRACTIONS by Dayle Ann Dodds. She lives in Hadlyme, Connecticut.
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What a great book! Any parent who has had to deal with sibling rivalry and/or imaginary playmates will enjoy sharing it with the kids. You don't often find a story that so accurately portrays the mixed feelings of a middle child, particularly one who is the only boy in the family. It's the brother's mixture of love and exasperation that keeps this picture book from being either one of those cloyingly sweet stories or one of those dwelling so heavily on the jealousy of the older child that his or her eventual acceptance of the newcomer seems problematic and probably short-lived. Sanders-Wells is equally sensitive and sure in her portrayal of the rest of the family. The empathy shown by the parents paves the way for the brothers' final defense of his sister. Not to be overlooked or undervalued are all the humorous touches which will surely endear young readers and listeners-little sister Maggie is a stitch all by herself. I'll be looking for more books from this writer!
An excellent read aloud, "Maggie's Monkeys" depicts a heartwarming and engaging brother/sister story. Rather than restate the synopsis, let me say that Jack and Maggie's relationship rings true of young siblings. The illustrations bring distinct expressions and situations to vivid life. And let's not forget those monkeys. I love the monkeys! This 2009 Junior Library Guild picture book doesn't miss a beat thanks to author Ms. Linda Sanders-Wells and illustrator Abby Carter. If you're looking for a story both entertaining and colorful, "Maggie's Monkeys" is the next book on your child's shelf!