This charming picture book debut consists of four brief, rhymed vignettes that depict mischievous animals taking turns taunting a timid bowler-hatted human (who resembles a pauper cousin to Monopoly's rich Uncle Pennybags). In Horowitz's tale, the monkey on the man's back is no metaphor: the curious creature clings to the fellow, discovers a fungus (represented by silhouette images of mushrooms run riot) and, on the next page, the primate towers over the man and the typeface grows bulbous to demonstrate "a monkey humongous." Next, a hippopotamus "hops a bus" to Hippotropolis, where he occupies the now-vacant position on the man's back. The arrival of a scaly green monster (who stands sassily, hands on hips) sends everyone scurrying. But an empty costume box ("Awfully Kreepy") soon reveals that this is just another primate prank. Horowitz's staccato rhymes work well in tandem with his bold mixed-media collages in colored corrugated paper and charcoal pencil, which convey much visual humor. A standout depicts the stupefied man holding the jovial hippo aloft alongside the phrase "A hippopotamus on top of us." This foray into monkey business will elicit a large share of laughter. Ages 3-6. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
A happy little monkey gleefully plays tricks on his animal friends as he frolics through the pages of this picture book. Bright, bold colors mirror staccato rhymes that give the story its feeling of movement. The cut paper and colored pencil illustrations add depth to the visual element of the book, making the pictures seem to jump off the page. Young children will quickly pick up on the beat and rhythm of the words and be able to "read" the story back to their parents and teachers. This playful story is an entertaining example of rhyme and sure to please the very young. 2004, HarperFestival/HarperCollins, Ages 3 to 6.
PreS-Gr 1-This picture book features wordplay about a monkey, a hippopotamus, and a giraffe. While the text is exceedingly brief, the vocabulary is not uniformly simple, and beginning readers will struggle with such words as "imposter" and "fungus." Both the rhyme and the wit are uninspired ("A monster imposter"; "The bad giraffe laughs"), and the rhythm is uneven, resulting in a choppy quality. The cartoon artwork is bright and child-friendly (sharp eyes may observe that the man in the black hat appears to have only one ear, which then disappears), and the bold, black type is eye-catching. However, children are unlikely to find the story itself compelling. From this book, it's very clear that nonsensical wordplay does not always amuse.-Robyn Walker, Elgin Court Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Rambunctious wordplay and big, stylized, Chris Raschka-like illustrations are the order of the day in this jazzy debut. Accompanied by just a few big words per spread, a rubber-limbed monkey, hippo, and giraffe use a dapper gent with a bowler and small mustache as a foil in a variety of minimally rendered settings: "A hippopotamus. / A hippopotamus hops a bus . . . / all the way to Hippotropolis. / A hippopotamus on top of us." The art and text both are, or are made to look like, construction-paper collages, with an occasional bit of crayon work added; like the captions, the bright colors play off each other in lively, spontaneous ways. A brief but engaging showcase, not too abstract for younger listeners and viewers to enjoy. (Picture book. 4-6)