Monkey Business

Monkey Business

by Wallace Edwards
     
 

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Award-winning children's book creator Wallace Edwards explores popular idioms in comical and unexpected ways. Each page is a rich puzzle to keep you guessing again and again.

Overview

Award-winning children's book creator Wallace Edwards explores popular idioms in comical and unexpected ways. Each page is a rich puzzle to keep you guessing again and again.

Editorial Reviews

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. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Edwards has a wild romp with a collection of some familiar idioms. He also hides a simian in each full-page portrayal of an animal engaged in the activity described in the idiom. A sentence using the idiom is under each illustration, while the real meanings are listed at the end. Sayings like "on the ball" and "snug as a bug in a rug" to "playing by ear" and "putting his best foot forward" to "a wolf in sheep's clothing" and "a fish out of water," offer opportunities for imaginative and hilarious visual story-telling. The jacket's super-crowded portrait of a chimp (busy on his "monkey business") surrounded by many objects that appear inside should put readers on guard about sharpening their powers of observation. Created with watercolors, colored pencils and gouache, these pictures deftly mix realistic animals with all manner of other things in surreal compositions evoking a wide range of emotions. They can range from disgust as the worms crawl out of the opened can to invade a kitchen to laughter when we observe a hound dog using his ears to play a single-string cello. And it's fun all along finding the myriad of things as well as the shy monkeys in each scene. This book is not only a help for American students learning about idioms, it also can be useful in any class of English as a second language. 2004, Kids Can Press, Ages 6 up.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 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 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Teachers rejoice: a great new tool for teaching idioms (and encouraging creativity) has arrived. Edwards presents a single sentence and illustration per page, each featuring one of 26 unrelated idioms. "Eloise had a craving for snails, but she accidentally opened a can of worms." A fish in a bathrobe must deal with the worms that have spread out to cover her kitchen. The definition of an idiom begins the text, while the last page explains the meaning of each one featured. Richly elaborate illustrations are full of details that young readers will enjoy discovering with each subsequent reading. And they must find the monkey hidden on each page. In the last illustration, the monkey asks, "Did you find the monkey on every page?" sending readers back for another look. While the meanings of most of the idioms can be determined through context clues, this is still sophisticated enough for adults to share with a younger audience. A great addition to the many books that play on words. (Picture book. 8-10)
Booklist
[They will enjoy the richness of both the art and our language. Teachers will find many uses for this - in English class, of course, but also for creative writing and art studies.
From the Publisher
[A]n impressive collection of inventive scenes of visual comedy.

Teachers rejoice: a great new tool for teaching idioms has arrived. ... Richly elaborate illustrations are full of details that young readers will enjoy discovering with each subsequent reading. ... While the meanings of most of the idioms can be determined through context clues, this is still sophisticated enough for adults to share with a younger audience.

Teachers rejoice: a great new tool for teaching idioms has arrived. ... Richly elaborate illustrations are full of details that young readers will enjoy discovering with each subsequent reading. ... While the meanings of most of the idioms can be determined through context clues, this is still sophisticated enough for adults to share with a younger audience.

[T]hey will enjoy the richness of both the art and our language. Teachers will find many uses for this - in English class, of course, but also for creative writing and art studies.

[T]hey will enjoy the richness of both the art and our language. Teachers will find many uses for this - in English class, of course, but also for creative writing and art studies.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781894786317
Publisher:
Kids Can Press, Limited
Publication date:
08/01/2008
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Lexile:
910L (what's this?)
File size:
16 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Wallace Edwards is a commissioned artist, as well as a freelance illustrator for books and magazines. He lives in Yarker, Ontario, near Kingston.

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