Reading level: Ages 4-8
Pages: 40 pages
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (September 15, 2003)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 9.4 x 0.4 inches
From School Library Journal
Marklee, a friendly monkey, welcomes his new downstairs neighbor, a giraffe named Artichoke, to the apartment building by telling him to bang on the ceiling if any noise is bothersome. However, Artichoke then proceeds to bang after any sound. When the monkey ventures downstairs to apologize, the giraffe doesn't answer the door (he's wearing earphones and listening to a record). Marklee grows angry at what he perceives to be rude behavior. At Christmastime, a package for Artichoke arrives at Marklee's by mistake and he throws it away out of spite. Later he regrets his action and takes it to the "old grump." The box holds "inflatable Velcro ceiling pillows," so apartment-dwelling giraffes don't bump their heads and disturb their neighbors. The two neighbors become friends after the misunderstanding is sorted out. Urban children will relate to the nuances of apartment living depicted in the simple, clear text. Lin invitingly illustrates Marklee and Artichoke, decorating their clothing and apartments in colorful designs. While the protagonist's change of heart is brought on by yuletide sentiment, this is really a story about the misinterpretations that can arise from first impressions at any time. A tale with a gentle message for sharing throughout the year.
Marklee the monkey resolves a misunderstanding with his new neighbor, Artichoke the giraffe, in this combination friendship and Christmas story. The friendly monkey asks Artichoke to bang on the ceiling if Marklee is being too noisy. During the next few months, Artichoke seems to bang constantly, and Marklee decides that his new neighbor is "an old grump." He even throws away a package for Artichoke that comes to his door by mistake. He softens when he realizes that his neighbor is alone for Christmas, and he retrieves the package, which turns out to be ceiling pillows--to stop Artichoke from accidentally bumping his head on the ceiling! The brightly colored, engaging illustrations, presented from what seems to be a giraffe's-eye perspective, add warmth to the story. Children will sympathize with Marklee as he goes about his normal activities punctuated with bangs coming from below; prescient ones may suspect the giraffe's long neck is to blame before the end. The final illustration shows the neighbors, now friends, seated by the fireplace, sharing cocoa and cookies.
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