#1017 – Adventures of Gracie & Monkey Bear by C. S. O’Kelly and Jordy Farrell

agmb_cover_web The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear, #1: Summer
Written by C. S. O’Kelly
Illustrated by Jordy Farrell
MonkeyBear Publishing  9/05/2016
36 pages   Ages 4—8

“A rare friendship between a precocious girl and her dog turns into an incredible adventure every Saturday morning. From their backyard in Brooklyn, they find portals that open to new worlds. With each new doorway comes the opportunity to help those in need and create lasting friendships along the way. Gracie and MonkeyBear are tested at every turn… But can they make it home in time for dinner?” [GOODREADS]

Gracie, a young girl of unspecified age, has a close pal in MonkeyBear (real name Seamus). They wake up each Saturday morning ready for adventure right in their own backyard. Gracie notices what looks like feathers popping out of the ground. What could it be? Gracie loses no time finding out. She and MonkeyBear excavate the immediate area. Under all the dirt is a T Rex. Gracie names Stuff-A-Mus Rexicus.
digspread_lowreseditAs soon as he is freed, Stuff-A-Mus Rexicus begins his long trek home—MonkeyBear offers directions—Gracie notices another creature in need of help. Losing her brown fedora and jacket for a blue jumper, Gracie finds a Voosurian starship stuck in her tree. Grace, fluent in Voosurian, talks to the alien in a language stuffed with the “oo” sound. It takes a couple of reads to get these sentences rolling off your tongue. Luckily, MonkeyBiear knows how to repair a Voosurian starship and the alien soars back into space.

Good things often happen in threes. Gracie and MonkeyBear’s Saturday excursions are no exception. Changing once more, this time for a “deepwater-exploring suit” complete with a language translator. Deep under her seemingly small swimming pool, a whale’s baby, named Wooliatha Wonder Whale, stuck in fish netting. Once released, the whales are on their way as Gracie and MonkeyBear float back to the surface in their homemade equipment, just in time for dinner.
jungjung-spread_lowreseditThe genius in these adventures—making translators, submarines, and other necessary equipment is the dog, MonkeyBear. His room contains posters of true genius’ like Einstein and loads of deep subject books, like String Theory, Subs for Canines, Voosurian for Travelers, and T. Rex and Me, among other heavy subjects. Gracie and MonkeyBear rely on imagination, creativity, and close relationships.

Young children will love the details in artist Jordy Farrell’s illustrations, which greatly enhance the lengthy text. The story will fascinate children with all the action. Those capable of listening intently to all the text will enjoy inventive wordplay, onomatopoeia, and the occasional alliteration. The text, while exciting and well-written, it leaves little room for the illustrator to interpret the story in his own voice, giving children a dual story. Most picture books strive for this double-interpretation from the author and illustrator. Given that The Adventures of Gracie and MonkeyBear, Book 1: Summer is C. S. O’Kelly’s debut, this zeal for detail can be overlooked.
The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear, #1:  Summer is a uniquely fresh start. As the series progresses—Fall, Winter, and Spring—O’Kelly’s writing needs to aim for a lower word count and a tighter story. Her imagination and creativity reigns supreme for children, who will devour this new series. The characters are fresh, nicely developed, and kid-friendly. Readers will immediately understand why Kirkus gave The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear, #1: Summer a treasured starred review.

THE ADVENTURES OF GRACIE & MONKEYBEAR, BOOK #1: SUMMER. Text copyright © 2016 by C. S. O’Kelly. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Jordy Farrell. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, MonkeyBear Publishing, Middletown, CA.

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Add The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear, #1: Summer to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.

Reprinted with permission from THE ADVENTURES OF GRACIE & MONKEYBEAR, BOOK #1: SUMMER © 2016 by C. S. O’Kelly, MonkeyBear Publishing, an imprint of Lore Mountain Productions, Illustrations © 2016 by Jordy Farrell.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear, #1: Summer
Written by C. S. O’Kelly
Illustrated by Jordy Farrell
MonkeyBear Publishing 9/05/2016


6 thoughts on “#1017 – Adventures of Gracie & Monkey Bear by C. S. O’Kelly and Jordy Farrell

  1. I purchased this book a few months ago and just finished reading it to my grandson for the hundredth time. It quickly became our go-to at bedtime story. The bright colors and fun characters drew us in immediately to every adventure – and we continue to laugh each time we try to speak Voosurian. Each reading reveals something new on the page (especially page 1), which inspires great questions. We are eagerly awaiting Book 2!


  2. Bought 3 signed copies of this book for my nieces & nephew. According to my sister-in-law, they love the book & my nephew carries it around the house with him (I read another review where another child did the same thing–interesting). I sent along a comment to the author, asking if they could create an eBook with audio. C.S responded with “it’s in the queue.” I also received a bookmark with Book 1: Summer that had a Book 2: Winter scene. Any idea when this is coming out?

    Looking forward to more from this TEAM and thank you Sue for the thorough review! Love this site.


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