When I was reading Mr. Monkey Bakes a Cake and Mr. Monkey Visits a School I was trying to figure out who Mr. Monkey reminded me of. I have never seen Mr. Bean, but that is what the publisher description says it is: Curious George meets Mr. Bean (which the Curious George reference was my first thought). It also has a classic Pink Panther tone to it. There is a narrator telling you story, the characters never speak, but only act and react to each other. But yes, they both remind me of any well-meaning, but hapless person trying to do the best they can and it never working out.
Jeff Mack has created a fun new series for the not beginning, but slightly more advanced starting out reader. There are fun illustrations, impossibly hilarious situations and just all-around shenanigans. The slapstick is not new or fresh: the gorilla of Bakes a Cake gets cake ALL over: himself, the room, Mr. Monkey…. you name it. And yes, because it is a cake contest, there is due to this mess, a ribbon on his butt. Or in the second one, of course Mr. Monkey’s equipment goes missing as he needs it to do his trick. But the child reader will probably “not see that coming” and be surprised and wonder how Mr. Monkey will fix it.
I am not a fan of that kind of tomfoolery, yet I never hated this book. There was just something about it that I could not bring myself to dislike. I know too many kids will get a kick out of it. I would for certain recommend this to a reluctant reader. The illustrations are not my usual taste, but since they fit so well they, too, are “not hateable” material.