FICTION

My Tooth Is LOST!: A Monkey & Cake Book

Orchard. (Monkey & Cake). Sept. 2019. 56p. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781338143881.
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PreS-Gr 2–In the style of Mo Willems’s “Elephant and Piggie,” Monkey and Cake arrive on the scene complete with colored word bubbles, humor, drama, and an unexpected ending. When cheerful Cake finds a depressed Monkey mourning the loss of his tooth, Cake reassures him with a story of the tooth fairy and a monetary reward. But Monkey is horrified and insists that he wants his tooth back so he can eat with it, which confuses Cake. All is cleared up when Tooth, whose name is Kevin, arrives and they head off to eat pie. The controlled text is humorous and effective, and the clever twist ending will have readers laughing. Monkey has Gerald-esque concern and drama in his responses, playing off calm, philosophical Cake. Each character’s word bubbles are a unique color, aiding readers. The dark pencil and acrylic cartoon-style art portrays the characters in full color, while the primarily white backgrounds contain the occasional tree or prop. Stubby-legged Cake is pink with confetti stripes, chocolate frosting, and a cherry. Gangly Monkey is brown and sports a red baseball cap, while Kevin wears star-shaped sunglasses. The characters all have simple, expressive faces, with large white eyes and dot pupils. With simple lines, Tallec captures movement, personality, and a variety of emotions.
VERDICT While clearly reminiscent of Mo Willems's work, Daywalt and Tallec's offering captures that sweet spot of humor and accessibility that makes an effective beginning reader. Only the potentially offensive use of a monkey as a protagonist keeps it from being a solid recommendation.

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