Baby Monkey: Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin
Brian Selznick’s latest is a ground-breaker: full-page illustrations and a semi-graphic novel format; chapters that can be stand-alone for different reading times, or all at once; large type-face and easy-to-read repetitive sentences. Yes! It’s a delightful easy reader, fun for young readers and also charming for the adults who are part of the reading experience. Baby Monkey is–well–a baby and a monkey, who is also a private eye. He takes on cases, one for each chapter, and uses visual clues to solve the mysteries. His clients include an opera singer, an Italian pizza chef, a clown, a spaceman. . .and a surprise mystery client. The black-and-white illustrations add to the private eye/noir-ish feel of the story. We love the way baby monkey’s cases are all reflected with special clues in his office that match the cases, sure to delight adult readers. The clues are helpfully highlighted in endnotes that name the themed paintings on the wall, bust on the desk, film posters and other hidden clues and jokes. Of course, the story works just as well without these objects, but it makes the reading so much more fun. The running joke of Baby Monkey struggling to put on his pants for each case will have readers chuckling –even the adults. Sure to be an award-winner!