Monday, March 26, 2012

Monkey Face

Monkey Face
Frank Asch ~ Parents' Magazine Press, 1977

I knew eventually I would have to go deeper with Frank Asch. I've been hesitant to fully embrace his work as he is one of those authors I'm still unsure about. Are his books too simple? What is it about his aesthetic that so confounds me? Am I looking at his work with too critical of an eye? No matter. What matters is that children love them some Frank Asch. From the elusive and highly-collectible Starbaby to the unstoppable force of Moonbear to the collaboration that helped to thaw out the Cold War, Here Comes the Cat. Despite any misgivings I might have, anyone who is able to make a career out of drawing and writing things for children is OK in my book.

That said, enter Monkey Face. The story of a young monkey who sees his mother through the eyes of his friends.

One day at school, Monkey painted a picture of his mother. On the way home, he stopped to show it to his friend, Owl. "Nice picture," said Owl, "but you made her eyes too small."

"How's that?" asked Monkey.

"Much better," said Owl.

The story builds from there with Monkey adding all sorts of facial accouterments to his mother's mug. Big rabbit ears. A crocodile smile. An elephant's trunk. A lion's mane. By the time he gifts it to his mom, it looks nothing like a monkey. Of course, she loves it all the same. Told with simple black line drawings, infused here and there with splashes of blue and orange (one of my favorite color combinations), the silly picture of the monowcrolionaphant always get a chuckle out of my boy.

I get the idea that the moral of this book is that we are who we love, and generally, that's an amalgamation of a lot of different things.

Can't fault that logic.

Also by:
MacGoose's Grocery
Here Comes the Cat!


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stephanie said...

Not a fan of Asch, myself. This story sounds a lot like H.A. Rey's "Billy's Picture", which I love.

Burgin Streetman said...

I'm with you... I hadn't even thought about the Billy's Picture connection... Exactly!

Anonymous said...

Loved using this book in an elementary reading and language program many years ago. The kids loved it, the language was repetitive and easy for them to pick up, and Pam, the incredibly talented teacher aide, developed manipulatives so that the students could follow along and use their own figures to retell.

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