Parents and kids alike will find much to love in this sweet picture book about a child's blossoming independence. Monk, last seen honing his baseball skills in Mouse Practice, now wants to camp out in his backyard, all by himself. "I'll be okay!" he assures his accommodating though nervous parents. Even after night falls a little too dark and too quiet for Monk's liking, he's still determined to enjoy being on his own. But when he awakes with a start and realizes his beloved baseball mitt is nowhere in the tent, he slips into the house to retrieve it--at the same moment Mom and Dad decide to creep into the backyard and sleep on the lawn to keep Monk company. At daybreak, the family discovers the mix-up and happily reunites for breakfast. McCully (Mirette on the High Wire) uses a light and deft touch to address the tender anxieties that accompany rites of passage. The spare yet chipper text delineates the action while cheery watercolor and pen-and-ink scenes, by turns busy and cozy, are freckled with asides that give the story its heart. Accompanying the line "First, Monk had to make a tent," for example, is a view of the parents at the window: "Should we help him?" "Absolutely not." On the next page, the parents are busy at work: "They only helped a little." Affectionate, funny and wise, this is wholly a treat. Ages 3-9. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
When Monk, a young mouse, decides to camp out in the back yard, his parents react as if he were going away. "He'll be back before we know it," they tell each other. They help him set up a tent, pack him some "camp grub" and give him a good-night hug. Then they fall asleep waiting up in case he comes back in to sleep. In a funny twist, Monk ends up inside asleep on a chair, while his parents bed down outside his tent. Charming pen-and-watercolor pictures with lots of visual humor perfectly suit this clever story by a Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator.
Monk's first camping experience is difficult, especially for his parents. When Monk decides that tonight is perfect for his first camp out in the back yard, his doting parents agree, but need his reassurance that he'll be OK. When he has trouble pitching his tent, they help "only a little." Monk isn't home for dinner, so they bring him some camp grub in a lunch box. Dinner is lonely, and the evening is long. They just have to give him a good night hug and kiss and stay up until he decides to come in. Meanwhile, Monk is having a fine time and rejects his parents' suggestion that he come inside. During the night, Monk wakes up and needs his mitt. His parents who have been sleeping in their living room wake up and need to make sure he's all right. In a delightful two-page spread, McCully (Outlaw Thanksgiving, 1998) shows Monk coming into the front door, as his parents are going out the side door. They all trade places. Monk sleeps in his mother's chair. His parents sleep outside the tent and when they meet in the morning Monk proudly announces that he camped out all night by himself. Parents will enjoy reading this affectionate view of their concerns about the growing independence of their offspring. Younger children will like the story and the older ones will get the inside joke. McCully's pen and ink and watercolor illustrations tell the story with humor and charm and round out the spare text. (Picture book. 4-6)