Monday, April 1, 2019

BABY MONKEY, PRIVATE EYE by Brian Selznick and David Serlin.  Illus. by Brian Selznick.  New York: Scholastic Press, 2018. 190p.  ISBN 978-133818061-9 hc. $16.99    Gr. K-4     JUV

Selznick comes through again with his characteristic textured pencil drawings that won the 2008 Caldecott Award for THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET (2007) and additional recognition for WONDERSTRUCK (2011) and THE MARVELS (2015).  BABY MONKEY, PRIVATE EYE has easy, repetitious text in large print for beginning readers, alongside text-rich views of Baby Monkey's office with book titles and art prints that give lots of hints about the crime.  Turn to the back of the book for Serlin's contribution  - the documentation of historical artifacts in the office.  The pint-sized detective predictably looks for clues, writes notes, has a healthy snack, and dresses himself before quickly solving each crime.  Baby Monkey has a little trouble putting on his pants, an activity drawn so skillfully that readers will have to suppress a string of giggles.  When the detective finally gets out of his office, there's always a set of tracks leading to the thief.  Readers can try to guess the thief''s identity based on the size and pattern of the tracks.  This book is filled with fun - and leads to a sweet ending.
Lynette Suckow, Superiorland Preview Center, Marquette, MI

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