Maggie’s Monkeys

Maggie’s Monkeys by Linda Sanders-Wells, illustrated by Abby Carter.

A family of pink monkeys has moved into the family’s refrigerator according to Maggie.  Everyone except her older brother goes along with her imaginary creatures.  Mom made an extra bowl of banana pudding for the monkeys, Dad watched out for shutting the door on their tails, and the older sister pretended to dress them up.  The brother tries to get the others in the family to stop playing along with Maggie, but all of them give him reasons that there just might be real monkeys in the fridge.  Even when he tries to play along with Maggie eventually, he keeps on messing it up, sitting on the invisible monkeys, reading zoo stories, and making monkey noises.  All wrong in Maggie’s eyes.  When his friends come over one day and discover Maggie’s imaginary monkeys, they start teasing her.  That changes everything!

This book perfectly captures the great imagination of children, the willingness of a family to be supportive and creative, and the sullen concern of a child who just doesn’t understand what the family is doing.  The transformation of the older brother is done believably and openly.  The rest of the family is nicely portrayed, trying to support both children.  The character of the brother is nicely balanced, showing disbelief but never sinking into being unlikeable.  Carter’s illustrations are done in black colored pencil and gouache.  They are friendly, cartoony and bright colored.

The text is nice to read aloud and the pictures will work well for a group.  I’d try it with older preschoolers who may have younger children at home that they are just as mystified by.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.