"When there's trouble in the jungle, Monkey Truck knows what to do." This furry, brown truck with an expressive monkey face and extra-long arms saves a chameleon from being squished by a clumsy elephant and a butterfly from a hungry Venus flytrap. He washes dirty warthogs, untangles vipers, gives crocodiles backrubs and even feeds baby birds. "A monkey with a mission—WOW, he sure is fast. / His overdrive engine burns banana gas." When a tsunami threatens, he piles all the animals (including three hippos) in his bed and heads for high ground. "Who's the little fella that the jungle calls king? A four-wheeled Banana-eating monkey machine." The illustrator of My Life as a Chicken, by Ellen A. Kelley (2007), Slack produces a zippy jungle jaunt with enough action and rhythm for any preschooler in his first solo effort. The bright, blocky and, above all, goofy digitally painted illustrations will grab attention, and Monkey Truck's hooting mug (and tooting bottom) will keep the giggles flowing. Hope for more from this outrageous imagination. (Picture book. 2-5)Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
An absurd but kid-pleasing amalgam of a primate and a flatbed truck (complete with four wheels and ears-as-side-mirrors) is the troubleshooting hero of Slack's (Knuckleheads) boisterous first solo effort. Garish digital art drives the action, as Monkey Truck rolls through a verdant jungle, rescuing animals in distress. He whisks away a chameleon that is about to be trampled by an elephant, soars through the air to feed a worm to a baby bird, uses his arms to straddle a ravine to help turtles cross, and transports the entire menagerie to high ground to escape an approaching tsunami (in a book played for laughs, it's an uneasy inclusion only a few years after the massively deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean). Scenes of an array of creatures (hippos, warthogs, and more) piled on top of Monkey Truck are among the book's silliest. Slack's choppy, rhyming text is propelled by sound effects and exclamations that enhance the book's read-aloud appeal ("Racing up a hill with a full payload,/ grind those gears!/ Go! Monkey Truck, Go!"). A slight yet spirited romp. Ages 2-4. (Jan.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
PreS-Gr 2--This imaginative story follows the adventures of a monkey-shaped truck as it travels through the jungle helping animals. The four-wheeled vehicle has flexible arms and a cab in the shape of a monkey head. Facial expressions change depending upon the situation. The truck rescues a chameleon about to be stomped upon by an elephant, comes to the assistance of hippos stuck in mud, and transforms itself into a bridge for a turtle crossing. The wildly creative, fast-paced tale has the energy of a children's cartoon. Comical illustrations add to the entertainment value. Digitally painted and collaged in Photoshop, the artwork is rich in color, use of space, and shape. Action-packed images mirror the story line. Teachers or parents could use this picture book to introduce the concept of helpfulness. The book would also add variety to a jungle-themed storytime. The unique plot, attractive dust jacket, and lively artwork make this unusual picture book a fun read.--Lynn Vanca, Freelance Librarian, Akron, OH[Page 134]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.