Mr Monkey and the Birthday Party (Early Reader) by Linda Chapman and Sam Hearn

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Mr Monkey and the Birthday Party (Early Reader) by Linda Chapman and Sam Hearn

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Buy Mr Monkey and the Birthday Party (Early Reader) by Linda Chapman and Sam Hearn at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A six-chapter adventure for those on the cusp of reading books alone, this has some of the magic of the titular toy monkey, and a strong narrative.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 80 Date: March 2014
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
ISBN: 9781444009859

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What is a young girl to do? Anya wants to go with the rest of her primary school class to a swimming party, but she's worried of being laughed at for staying at toddlers' depth, for she is not a confident swimmer. As luck would have it, she has been picked to take home the class 'pet', the cuddly toy called Mr Monkey, for the week, and just as luck would have it, he's actually a secretly magical being. But could even he get Anya out of her jam and make a Cinderella moment come true?

This brisk early reader is billed as being for the stage above the 'sharing and reading together' bracket, suggesting the book's owner could probably be expected to cope on their own, more or less. I can't see a problem with that, for while some pages certainly are more full of text than others there is a levity to it all, and of course a well-judged vocab.

I think a lot more than that has been well-judged. The title gives nothing away about the plot, the cover illustration has a cryptic clue to the story but doesn't portray half of what is about to happen… This story is allowed to reveal its surprises by itself, and is all the better for it. The sense of magic in the story will appear a little silly and far-fetched to those too old for this, but for the right age range the tale progresses superbly, and captures wish-fulfilment in a warm and clever way.

Equally warm and clever is Mr Monkey, bounding around the illustrations on these pages with a huge gurning grin. It reads to be perfectly self-contained, but clearly with a new pupil each week he could easily return and return again, building up quite a shelf full of adventures. And that idea would be more than welcome, provided the creators could maintain the high standards they show here.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Mi and Museum City by Linda Sarah might seem to be reverting to picture-book status, but will still manage to absorb.

Buy Mr Monkey and the Birthday Party (Early Reader) by Linda Chapman and Sam Hearn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Mr Monkey and the Birthday Party (Early Reader) by Linda Chapman and Sam Hearn at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Mr Monkey and the Birthday Party (Early Reader) by Linda Chapman and Sam Hearn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Mr Monkey and the Birthday Party (Early Reader) by Linda Chapman and Sam Hearn at Amazon.com.

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