Mr. Robert Monkey Returns to New York

Children - Animals
32 Pages
Reviewed on 06/24/2021
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Author Biography

Married writers Deborah Ann Percy (Johnston) and Arnold Johnston live in Kalamazoo and South Haven, MI. Their individually and collaboratively written plays have won over two hundred productions, as well as numerous awards and publications across the country and internationally; and they’ve written, co-written, edited, or translated some twenty books. Debby earned an MFA in creative writing at Western Michigan University. After a distinguished administrative career in the Kalamazoo Public Schools, Debby is now a full-time writer, as is Arnie, who was chairman of the English Department (1997-2007) and taught for many years as co-founder of the creative writing program and founder of the playwriting program at Western Michigan University. They are members of the Dramatists Guild, the Associated Writing Programs, Poets & Writers, and the American Literary Translators Association.

    Book Review

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.