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Reviewed by Joe Wisinski for Readers' Favorite
Mr. Robert Monkey Returns to New York is a children’s picture book about a boy and his stuffed toy monkey, Mr. Robert. The boy, Bobby, accidentally loses his best friend, the monkey, when his family moves to New York City. Bobby and Mr. Robert are both heartbroken. A friendly bullfrog sees Mr. Robert and starts him on his journey to New York. During his trip to find Bobby, Mr. Robert travels by many conveyances, including a semi-trailer, a plane, and even a seagull. The monkey is assisted by many other people and anthropomorphic animals until he and Bobby are reunited. Authors Arnold Johnston and Deborah Ann Percy tell the story through the use of rhymes, e.g., “Almost every Saturday, from morning sun till dark, Mr. Robert went with Bobby to play in Central Park.”
My children would have enjoyed this book when they were young. The authors write cleverly and tell a wonderful story. The rhymes never seem forced or unnatural, and children will enjoy their cadence. Mr. Robert Monkey Returns to New York teaches love and cooperation between both people and anthropomorphic animals. The illustrations by artist Kelly O’Neill are beautiful and fit the story perfectly. Although authors Arnold Johnston and Deborah Ann Percy don’t specifically say what ages it is for, the boy appears to be about 5 or 6, so children a couple of years younger or older will like it. And, of course, everyone will feel good about the happy ending. I recommend this book for both children to read and for adults to read to them.