Monkey on the Run
This wordless picture book starts with a father monkey collecting his little one from school and right away their funky motorbike is in a nose-to-tail traffic jam.
Rather than sit frustratedly in the side car, Little Monkey gets out and starts wending his own way home.
Every spread offers potential stories aplenty so this definitely is not a book to hurry through. Rather one needs to slow the pace and relish the on-the-move fire fighting scenario; Little Monkey’s cake-lifting episode from the royal ‘feastmobile’…
cake he subsequently consumes in the crow’s nest of a wheeled boat.
There follow a confrontation with a rooster; a circus-like dangling act from a very bendy drinking straw
and later on Dad monkey gets an ice-cream surprise from above.
Then our inventive traveller secures a wonderful gift box
that he presents to his mum when father and son finally reach home.
Timmers’ vehicles are veritable inventive wonders, every one; and the way in which the interaction on each spread occurs is sheer comic genius. I’m sure readers will discover new things to relish on every re-reading, of which I’m sure there will be many.
I love quirky picture books and this near wordless one is certainly that. I also love that the leader of the pack (an executive deer sporting a bowler hat) is a writer and reader. The problem is, said deer is driving along in his BANG-mobile loaded with copies of his latest publication (this book) while reading one of the books, seemingly unaware of the fact that the vehicle in front has just shed part of its load right in front of him. BANG! – books in dustbin.
The subsequent pages reveal the knock on effect as each following, tailgating vehicle runs into the back of the one in front:
pig with his chickens, giraffe with her clothes shopping, crocodile with tyres, cat with his catch, goat with his fruit and vegetables and rabbit with her sextuplets. More observant chameleon with his load of paint, manages with an ‘eeeeeeeeeeeeee’ to stop just in time, only for penguin in his ice-cream van to plough into the back of him and shunt him into the multi-vehicle pile-up. Fortunately not a single animal is hurt.
The panoramic pull-out page reveals the whole shebang and the resulting, amazing interaction of drivers, passengers and loads.
Surprisingly everyone is happy save a single baby rabbit whose sibling has stolen his ice-cream.
The sheer absurdity of the whole thing is irresistible.
Timmers’ wonderfully comic illustrations allow readers to fill in their own words. The amount of detail in every single vehicle, animal and load means that each double spread offers much to talk about – from the exaggerated animal features of the drivers and their snazzy attire, to the funky vehicles with their various loads and much more.
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