Monkey Truck by Michael Slack is another title where the cover grabbed my immediate attention. There's a monkey, who is also a truck, against a bright yellow, banana-like background. It's fun already.
Monkey Truck is about the adventures of a monkey/truck who zooms through the jungle helping animals in trouble. "When there's trouble in the jungle, Monkey Truck knows what to do." He totes things about, forms himself into a bridge, and feeds hungry baby birds. Always with a smile on his face. Monkey Truck burns banana gas (which has a side-effect that toddlers will find amusing). And when a real emergency arises, Monkey Truck leaps into action to save the animals.
Monkey Truck is a book for the youngest of listeners. It's not quite a board book - the pages are flexible cardboard, thicker than regular paper, but not so chewable as a board book. The text is quite minimal - the focus is solidly on the comical jungle-themed illustrations. What text there is tends heavily toward sound effects ("vroom, vroom", etc.), making it a fun read-aloud for younger kids.
But really, the joy of Monkey Truck is Michael Slack's over-the-top illustrations, digitally painted and collaged in Photoshop. The colors are vibrant, jungle hues. The animals all have expressive faces, sometimes happy, sometimes scared. There's a lot of action, as seen by animals careening around the pages at odd angles. I found the hippos sliding down a waterfall particularly charming.
Monkey Truck is a fun read for active preschoolers, offered in a pleasingly sturdy package. It would be a good companion book to read with The Hiccupotamus by Aaron Zenz and Hippo Goes Bananas by Marjorie Dennis Murray.
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. All Amazon links in this post are affiliate links, and may result in my receiving a small commission on purchases (with no additional cost to you).