For the past few years the trend in children’s non-fiction has been to produce exquisitely packaged books, with high-end illustrations, quirky text with interactivity, and sometimes a niche subject. Mad about Monkeys hits the trend spot on. It feels and looks beautiful – even the endpapers are beautifully designed with high class illustrations of different species of monkey.
The book progresses, almost story-like, through a quick and yet slyly comprehensive look at monkeys – addressing how you tell the difference between New World and Old World monkeys, their social habits, intelligence, identifying marks, particular species and much more. The conciseness of the text here is very good – there are no spare words – information is given in short, understandable paragraphs, yet with just enough information to sate the appetite without overloading.
The titles of sections are wisely done – ‘Is a Monkey My Uncle?’ ‘Tree’s a Crowd’ and of course ‘King of the Swingers’. Much information is imparted, including details about prehensile tails, and ischial callosities (you’re all dying to look that one up now), as well as typical facts for children, such as that a Howler monkey’s call can be heard up to three miles away. There’s also a great section at the end on monkey mythology and also deforestation.
The crucial winning feature of this title though is the illustrations. From the pygmy marmoset drawn to correct proportions to the predators page, the illustrations are amazing. They seem simple, and yet are clearly intensely detailed – showing each monkey’s features so that the species is identifiable. Worthy of much admiration, and, as I mentioned, it feels luxurious. A perfect non-fiction book for the age group (6-11yrs), which nicely whets the appetite and looks so appealing that you want to read and read again. Buy it here from Waterstones or click the Amazon sidebar.