The Purple Kangaroo


The monkey narrator in this humorous picture book gaurantees that he can READ YOUR MIND. What begins as a simple request to imagine the most spectacular thing in history turns into the story of a roller-skating, bubble-blowing purple kangaroo searching for his dear friend Ernesto on the moon. So by the time you finish this book, there's no chance you will be thinking of anything BUT the purple kangaroo.

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The monkey narrator in this humorous picture book gaurantees that he can READ YOUR MIND. What begins as a simple request to imagine the most spectacular thing in history turns into the story of a roller-skating, bubble-blowing purple kangaroo searching for his dear friend Ernesto on the moon. So by the time you finish this book, there's no chance you will be thinking of anything BUT the purple kangaroo.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Drawing out a joke to fill 32 pages is a tricky proposition, and despite consistently droll artwork, Black's (Chicken Cheeks) second picture book has trouble delivering. “I want you to think of something so spectacular that nobody has ever thought of it in the entire history of thinking about things,” a wiseacre monkey directs readers. After inviting them to “[l]ook deeeeep into my eyes”—Brown (The Curious Garden) delivers a hysterical closeup of the primate (complete with pink hypno-swirls in its eyes)—the monkey shouts: “You were thinking about a purple kangaroo!... No? You weren't thinking about a purple kangaroo?” The monkey presses its case, adding over-the-top elements to an imagined story seen in thought bubbles. The purple kangaroo acquires roller skates, juggles bananas, blows bubble gum out of its nose, and eventually finds its best friend, “the wild-eyed chinchilla Señor Ernesto de Pantalones,” via a paisley blimp that takes it to the moon. But while the text and artwork are sprinkled with genuinely funny details, the monkey's often overlong additions sap the story's momentum as it proceeds to its inevitable punch line: “You're thinking of one now!!!” Ages 4–8. (Dec.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The author, speaking as a jolly monkey, introduces this preposterous romp by assuring readers that he can read minds. After asking us to think of something "spectacular," he prepares to have us gaze into his eyes, enormous across the double page, until he has "GOT IT!" He insists that we were thinking about a purple kangaroo. The kangaroo, he asserts, was looking for a wide-eyed chinchilla. His tale grows ever crazier as the kangaroo juggles five bananas, blows bubble-gum from his nose, and hires a giant paisley blimp for his search. The ridiculous mind reading ends on the moon. And so, he assures us, if we were not thinking about a purple kangaroo before, we sure are now! Along with the antics of the all-too-human monkey, the athletic kangaroo, and the wild-eyed chinchilla, we encounter all the above and the pilot of the blimp, a uniformed rhino, not to mention a dozen hula-hoops. Acrylic paint and graphite "with a wee bit of digital tweaking" are used to create the crazy cast, the wild props, and the monkey's depictions in scallop-edged colored balloons. They are like circus clowns having a great time and inviting us to join in. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—An enterprising monkey bets readers that he can read their minds. After asking them to think of "Something spectacular," the creature begins to guess what it is, envisioning an incredible scenario featuring a purple kangaroo seeking "his best friend, a wild-eyed chinchilla named Señor Ernesto de Pantalones." Using some rollicking tongue twisters, the monkey describes how the talented kangaroo roller skates, juggles bananas, and visits the Moon during his search. This uproarious, guffaw-filled page-turner will keep youngsters on their toes as the monkey creates an imaginary "mind-reading." Children will delight in the "conversation" between the monkey and readers that plays out like an old vaudevillian joke. The engaging artwork features muted acrylic paintings punctuated by the computer-generated monkey narrating each page. A silly, fun romp that kids will ask for again and again.—C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY
Kirkus Reviews
A snide monkey conjures descriptions of a purple kangaroo in order to tell a snarky joke. "Hey, kid," opens the direct-address narration, "I've got a supersecret, highly unusual, incredible, and amazing magical power. I can read minds." Readers are instructed to "think of something," and the monkey guesses it's a purple kangaroo. When the assumed reader presumably says no, he parlays his guess into further florid details (a purple kangaroo on roller skates, juggling bananas, on the moon, etc.). Punch line: You still insist you weren't thinking of a purple kangaroo? Well, "YOU'RE THINKING OF ONE NOW!!!" Fans of gotcha! jokes will snort and race off to try it on someone else, but some readers will feel derided as the frankly obnoxious monkey holds his stomach with laughter and crows, "See, I told you I could read your mind." Rational thinkers will insist that the monkey didn't read their mind. Brown's acrylic, graphite and digital illustrations feature flat, oversimplified forms that lack backgrounds and depth; facial expressions are mocking and exaggerated, emphasizing the tone of one-upmanship. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416957713
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 12/29/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 430,781
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.28 (w) x 12.28 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Ian Black

Michael Ian Black is a writer, comedian, and actor who has created and starred in many television series, including Michael and Michael Have Issues, Stella, and The State. He also starred in the NBC television show Ed and on VH1’s I Love The... series. He wrote the screenplay for the film Run, Fatboy, Run and wrote and directed the film Wedding Daze. Michael regularly tours the country as a stand-up comedian and is the bestselling author of the book My Custom Van (and 50 Other Mind-Blowing Essays That Will Blow Your Mind All Over Your Face) and the children’s books Chicken Cheeks, The Purple Kangaroo, A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea, I’m Bored, and Naked! Michael lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children.

Peter Brown is the author of Children Make Terrible Pets and the critically acclaimed artist of Chowder and Flight of the Dodo. He is a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasedena, California, and he lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit Peter at

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