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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monkey of Steel: A Different Kind of Hero by Leah Beth Evans

Hello, hello!  Post two for this week and going strong! (Whoo-HOO!)  Before we get to the actual post, just a quick reminder that tomorrow we are playing host to the Bear-ly There Book Tour....stop by for all the festivities!  (Psst!  A little bear...I mean birdie, told me there will be a chance to win some great prizes too!) 

Now on with the show....  You must be wondering about the title of today's post (you know you were).  'Monkey of Steel'....I just couldn't help myself!  You'll see why in a few moments (or at least I hope you do or this will be rather awkward).  Today's book choice is....

A Different Kind of Hero
Leah Beth Evans

Meet Tomagochi.  He isn't your typical hero (but, you probably guessed that from the book title) as hero's usually go.  He's not super strong, super fast, super loud, or....well pretty much "super" anything.  He's just plain Tomagochi...small, brown, fuzzy monkey from the rainforest.  Why is he so worried about being "super"?  Well, when you have special friends like the mighty tiger and the ravishing toucan, and you are just a seemingly plain monkey, how could you not feel down?  (Poor monkey!)  Though his friends try to tell him it's what's on the inside that counts (Great message!), Tomagochi has a hard time accepting it.  One day, their little corner of heaven is threatened by man's progress.  There are BIG bull dozers threatening to tear down the very place they call home! (GASP!) What's a rainforest dweller to do?  Run for the hills with his friends?  Or stand up and fight for their home?  In the end, Tomagochi discovers that no matter your size, shape, or color, there is truly something special or "super" about us all.

A wonderful message for readers young and young at's not what's on the outside, but what's on the inside that counts.  Often times in society, we see the exact opposite.  I mean whether it be with each other or simply with a book, we judge by the cover.  It takes a genuine effort to look behind the veil and into the layers underneath (hmmm, this sounds more like a cake than a person, but anywho...) to find out what truly makes them the fantastic person they are. 

I must say that aside from the cute (yet short....again it's technically a picture book) story, the illustrations were rather unique as well!  They give the appearance of being drawn with oil pastels (they are kind of like chubby crayons, in case you haven't seen them), thus adding to the personality of each character.  Also, in-between the full fledge drawings, you have what I would call "cut-outs" of the different animals and symbols in the book.  You'll see an outline effect of a monkey (white space in the middle) and the actual monkey picture will be peeking at you off-center of the outline, thereby creating the "cut-out" effect.  It's actually pretty neat.  One more quick tidbit....for all of you aspiring writers out there, this story came as a result of a rainforest research project the author was given in fourth grade!  So you never know where your inspiration is going to come from....all of your experiences when funneled properly can become the golden moments you seek for your next endeavor!

Review copy courtesy of Nicole at Tribute Books!  (Thanks!) You can see their other titles online and of course they are follow-able (new word!) on Twitter as well!

So, in the spirit of Tomagochi, I ask you to consider your past reads.  Name one book that you read despite a cover that was lacking that certain oomph or that you less-than-loved.  Why did you read it?  What was the outcome (was it good, bad, ugly, somewhere in-between)?

Feel free to leave your comments and feedback!
Until next time....happy reading!


Tribute Books said...

Gina - I love how you put so much detail and emotion into your reviews. The time and effort you put into your blog really shows. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I'v read the book, it's very good! Often, though, in children's books, the illustrations are equaly as important. You're correct--they are unique and the style employs a very strong use of color which, I think, emphasizes the title character's personality. Highly recommended!

GMR said...

Tribute Books: Thanks for the kind words! I'm glad you enjoy the posts....I try to share my experience so my readers will feel a small portion of what I felt. =0)

Anonymous: Hi, Anon! (sorry, don't know your name!) I'm glad you had similiar experience with the book....and yes, I agree...the pictures are definitely equally important.

Bella said...

Oh this looks good. I'm trying to add more children's books to my shelves in preparation for the boys love for books, and this one is definitely going on the list.

Thanks Gina!

GMR said...

Bella: Hi there! *~waves~* Glad to see we're adding to the future readers of the world....happy to help make that bookcase bigger, and Bigger and BIgger and BIGger and..well you get the idea. =0)

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