Monkey with a Tool Belt by Chris Monroe
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (December 15, 2007)
Source of book: Review copy from publisher
Chico Bon Bon is a monkey who owns a tool belt full of tools—from the conventional screwdriver and drill to the not-so-conventional donkey wrench, zoozle, and snozz remover. On any given day, Chico Bon Bon will use these tools to build and fix things for his friends and family. He is extremely creative as is evidenced by the clock he builds for ducks and the small roller coaster for local chipmunks.
One day, a devious organ grinder looking for a new circus monkey lures Chico Bon Bon into a trap and takes him back to the circus camp. Luckily, Chico Bon Bon has his trusty tool belt with him and devises a plan to escape—the execution of this plan will leave children laughing and cheering for Chico.
While the story and text are very funny, it's Monroe's hilarious and highly detailed illustrations that will keep kids coming back to the book. The most elaborate illustration is that of the organ grinder taking Chico Bon Bon through the town to the circus camp. We see him traveling through the town on a winding road, passing by a pond, a smoothie hut, a park, a bookstore, and more. Each time I look at this page, I see something new.
I gave a copy to my friend Chris who has two daughters, ages 6 and 3, and he says it's quickly become a favorite in their house. If you're looking for a funny book that will keep kids asking for you to read it to them, Monkey with a Tool Belt makes a perfect choice. I sincerely hope this isn't the last we see of Chico Bon Bon.
What other bloggers are saying:
A Fuse #8 Production: "Monkeys are funny. Tool belts are not funny. So how do we account for the fact that monkeys plus tool belts are very funny? I've no idea, but if Chris Monroe keeps churning out more picture books of this style and flavor, I'll be a happy woman. Definitely a keeper for the tool belt and monkey lovers of the world."
Jen Robinson's Book Page: "Really, I think that everyone who has young children should go out and get a copy of this book. I might see if I can buy it in bulk, for all of my gift-giving needs. Monkey with a Tool Belt has my highest recommendation."
Zion School Library: "After reading Monkey with a Tool Belt aloud to 1st graders, they gave the book the highest praise by asking 'Is there another 'Monkey' book? If there isn't there should be!'"
Three Silly Chicks: "Monkey with a Tool Belt is a book kids will enjoy mightily. It's all that and a banana hammer!"