In the first chapter, Monkey and Elephant decide to find some shade, away from the hot sun. But Monkey is too slow and Elephant is too fast. When they find a puddle, they both splash differently. Can they compromise? As they continue their walk into the second chapter, they find more things they don't agree on and one thing they do; singing! Finally, they start seeing shapes in the third chapter. Could they be trees? After a scary adventure, they finally find shade and decide their friendship is just right.
Bernstein's illustrations are crisp, digital swirls of color. Blue elephant and purple monkey are subtly associated - both have curls in their ears. Monkey has the curl motif repeated in her tail, while Elephant's tail matches Monkey's splayed feet.
It's the little surprises in the story that move it past the classic, and now somewhat overdone, Frog and Toad model. Fun vocabulary words sprinkle the text; scampered, galumphed, bumpity, swishing, and more. Monkey and Elephant's differences aren't just personality-wise, they're also physical and species; Monkey is small, quick, and sometimes vulnerable, Elephant is big, slow, and sometimes clumsy. Together, they make a perfect team.
Verdict: This is a bright new addition to the classic easy reader genre and I look forward to more Monkey and Elephant stories.
ISBN: 9780763648404; Published 2012 by Candlewick; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library