Stripes Publishing, who are an imprint of the Little Tiger Group, have produced a first-class series of books exclusively for young children who are in search of first chapter books. Speedy Monkey is another book added to the range and is a superb read for those children who still seek a book with lots of illustrations but with more text in it. This is a very lively story featuring an energetic monkey, a colourful cast of rainforest animals, and a valuable lesson in being loved for who you are.
The rainforest is full of many wonderful creatures. Toucan loves watching the world go by. Red-Footed Tortoise loves basking in the sun. Sloth likes hanging from his branch and sleeping. Jaguar, Scarlet Macaw and Anaconda want a quiet life. And then there is Speedy Monkey. Speedy loves dancing and prancing and jumping and whooping and swooping.
Speedy loves swinging through the trees and exploring the rainforest. He longs for one of the animals in the rainforest to be his friend and to join in a game with him but all they want is for him to sit still and to give them peace and quiet. After annoying all the other animals Speedy disappears. And when a storm threatens all the animals and they need to act fast, Speedy is nowhere to be found.
Speedy Monkey is a brilliant character who is true to his name. He will be relatable to many a young reader who themselves are buzzing with curiosity just like Speedy and wanting to know, “What’s this? What’s that?Why? When? Where? Who?”. Despite at first not being accepted for who he is, Speedy Monkey is true to himself and shows the reader the importance of being yourself. Ultimately, it is the views of the other animals that change to accept Speedy for who he is. If people will not accept you for who you are then perhaps they do not deserve to have you as a friend at all.
Jeanne Willis does not hold back on her use of ambitious and challenging vocabulary as she brings the animals and rainforest to life. This is an excellent book for immersing young children in rich, descriptive prose. The illustrations by Chantelle & Burgen Thorne are colourful and vivid and are an absolute delight.
Speedy Monkey would be a fantastic book to read with a child or to let a child read independently. This is a truly beautiful book, the pages are thick and it feels likes you are holding something magical, you can almost hear the pages as you turn them and it just adds that extra special feeling.
Recommended for emerging readers of 6+.