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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Mila & Wallace is a children’s book written by Bonnie de Beer and illustrated by Barry Lewis. While her family sleeps at sunrise, a young monkey, Mila, wakes and decides to explore her surroundings on her own. Excited by the challenge of no parental supervision, Mila sneaks past different birds which are still soundly sleeping, until she is distracted by a trash can, which makes more noise than any morning bird ever could. Frightened, Mila flees and happens upon a pond. As she thirstily takes a drink, a young warthog appears from the middle of the pond, annoyed that Mila has disturbed his mud-bath. Mila and the warthog, Wallace, exchange words before Mila defiantly dives into the pond, ending up with more trouble than she had bargained for. Wallace saves Mila’s life, forging a bond between the two and a new friendship is born. Together, Wallace and Mila explore the exciting countryside.
I found Bonnie de Beer’s book about a young and curious monkey to be quite endearing. The amazing illustrations accompanying the tale brought it to life so beautifully. It is ironic that so many friendships in life begin as confrontations with a stranger, and Mila and Wallace’s story is just that, with two unlikely animals becoming the very best of friends. The quiz at the end of the book is a wonderful addition, encouraging interaction from the young reader and forcing them to think for themselves while practicing their memory skills. There are further educational aspects to the book, inclusive of teaching the reader how to make a special card for a friend, and bonus information about both monkeys and warthogs. I thoroughly enjoyed Mila and Wallace’s adventure and hope it might be the beginning of a series of books about different animal species. I recommend this book to all young readers, both as a book to be read to them at bedtime, or for those who are learning to read on their own.