[alert variation=”alert-info”]Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Kindle
Purchase: Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble[/alert]

A small-town mayor, who likes to have everything just so, notices a flower out of place. A passing ape stops to help, but he ends up doing more harm than good. One by one, he calls his various ape friends to fix the crises that come up while he tries to clean up the town, and the situation ends up spiraling out of control. Fortunately, in the end, there is cake and everyone is happy.

This book is similar in story structure to the classic If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, except instead of a demanding mouse escalating the situation, it’s helpful-yet-clumsy apes. The apes’ rallying cry of “Bogo! Pogo! Apes A-Go-Go!” is infectious, just the kind of silly thing that kids will find fun, and they’ll soon be chanting it along with you as you read the book.

The art style is eye-catchingly wacky, with a well-designed color palette. The apes are drawn in a sketchy, active style that gives a sense of movement to their actions. The font, however, can be a little hard to read, as the font size is small, and when paired with the more strongly colored backgrounds of some pages, sentences sometimes get lost.

All in all, the ultimate lesson of this book seems to be about being helpful and doing your chores – it doesn’t matter if you’re not good at them or if you sometimes accidentally break things or make messes. Messes can be tolerable as long as, like the apes, you remain calm and call in your friends for help. In the end, everyone pitches in to help the apes rebuild the town, even the mayor. It’s a story of teamwork and cooperation that still has plenty of fun along the way for the kids, and lessons that even parents could benefit from.

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