Mercy on These Teenage Chimps
Mercy on These Teenage Chimps
To purchase this item, you must first login or register for a new account.

Annotation: Puberty makes Ronnie and Joey feel like a couple of chimps. And when the coach humiliates Joey in front of a girl, he climbs a tree and refuses to leave.
Catalog Number: #10858
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Publisher: Harcourt
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition Date: 2008
Pages: 147 pages
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 0-15-206215-7 Perma-Bound: 0-605-10372-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-15-206215-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-10372-6
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2006002599
Dimensions: 18 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Ever since 13-year-old Ronnie and his best friend, Joey, hit puberty, they have felt particularly chimplike, with their peachy fuzz and splayed ears. But when Coach Puddlefield angrily calls Joey a monkey after he shimmies up a rafter to show off for pretty Jessica, Joey takes offense and secludes himself in his tree house. Then Ronnie embarks on a humorous mission to find Jessica and convince her of Joey's love. While tracking her down, he converses with several of the neighborhood's colorful characters and brokers a truce with a playground bully. Peace is fully restored when Coach apologizes, Jessica joins Joey in the tree, and Ronnie realizes that you're only a monkey if you think you are. Like much of Soto's work, this novel hangs more on the quirky characterizations than on the plot, which sometimes seems meandering and aimless. But those middle-school students who can identify with the boys' goofy, self-conscious ways will eagerly embrace the affable Ronnie and Joey.
Horn Book
Ronnie and his best friend Joey (both thirteen) are changing, with long gangly arms and awkward chimplike behavior. When Coach publicly humiliates Joey, he takes to a tree. Soto adroitly blends the unlikely with the realistic, grounding the story with sharply observed details of life in a lower-middle-class California community. This is a rollicking novel about the painful beginnings of adolescence.
Kirkus Reviews
This lighthearted, off-beat slice of life focuses on two (barely) teenaged boys. Narrated by 13-year-old Ronnie Gonzalez, the story revolves around his pal Joey's retreat to a tree after being humiliated in front of his first crush. Ronnie's efforts to track down the object of Joey's affection and bring the two together make up the bulk of the story that takes place over a weekend. Whether trying to help out the gruff coach from his school who is having marital problems or sympathizing with his hardworking mom, Ronnie has an engaging personality and a good heart. Without including any utterly unlikely events, Soto gives his story a touch of the fantastic that will appeal to young readers caught up in the angst of their own growing pains. The fact that both boys are Hispanic adds flavor to the tale without limiting its universal appeal. Some readers may tire of the extended comparison between teen boys and chimpanzees, but that's not to say that it doesn't have some merit. Breezy and entertaining. (Fiction. 11-14)
Publishers Weekly

Soto (Accidental Love) offers a send-up of adolescence in this intermittently amusing yet rather repetitious saga narrated by a boy who, on his 13th birthday, "woke up as a chimpanzee." Ronnie suddenly notices that his ears are splayed, his nose appears "flatter than ever," and his chin sports "peachy fuzz." Not only that, but he notices, "my gait seemed wider and was sort of rolling and [my arms] were hanging so low at my side that I could tie my shoes without bending over." His best friend, Joey, exhibits the same "teenage chimp" symptoms and takes to beating his chest and jumping up and down. The monkey metaphors come fast and furiously: at a sports awards ceremony, Joey climbs up into the rafters of the gym to rescue a balloon belonging to Jessica, a cute girl who has caught his eye (a coach bellows, "What do you think you are? A monkey?"). Mortified, Joey takes up residence in a tree in his yard. Ronnie then attempts to convince the coach to apologize to his tree-bound pal and also to play Cupid between Joey and Jessica (and between the coach and his estranged wife). He encounters some obstacles, but eventually succeeds. Despite a surfeit of overblown primate-related quips, Soto shapes sympathetic young characters and pulls off some comical hyperbole while imparting a worthy message about self-acceptance. Ages 12-up. (Jan.)

School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-When friends Ronnie Gonzalez and Joey Rios turn 13, their arms suddenly seem to hang to their knees and their ears stick out. Ronnie finds himself juggling his fruit instead of eating it, and Joey is thrown off the wrestling team for hooting at his vanquished opponent. The boys agree-they've turned into chimps, just like lots of other young teens they've known. They're embarrassed by how gross they smell, how often they need to shower, and their strong interest in girls. For their simian behavior in class, the boys receive detention, and the coach puts them to work setting up the auditorium for a special assembly. There, Joey falls hard for an award-winning gymnast, and, during the ceremony, he climbs the rafters to rescue her lost balloon. When the coach berates him as she watches, he feels humiliated, runs home, climbs into the tree in his backyard, and won't come down. Ronnie tries to save his friend's reputation and gets into some adventures of his own. Mercy is a short, light novel with plenty of funny insights into what happens when puberty leaves a big banana peel in every adolescent male's path. The story is set in a Northern California town, but the messages it shares are universal.-Walter Minkel, New York Public Library Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Voice of Youth Advocates
For many boys, turning thirteen is a rite of passage into manhood. For Ronaldo Gonzalez, better known as Ronnie, it is a ritual of transition into chimpanzee-hood. When he looks in the mirror on his thirteenth birthday, Ronnie sees nothing but a huge growth spurt, all gangly limbs and ears that stick out. His best friend, Joey, a gifted athlete with an attitude problem, is in the same predicament. On the night that they serve a detention with Coach "Bear" Puddlefield, Joey falls in love with a gymnast named Jessica. As boys are liable to do, Joey humiliates himself in front of her in an incident involving rafters and a helium balloon, and in his disgrace, he banishes himself to life in a treetop. Now, it is up to Ronnie to find the mysterious Jessica and let her know how Joey feels. With humor and language as ungainly as a thirteen-year-old boy, Soto describes one hot, magical weekend in a working-class town. Joey and Ronnie are charming characters who always have each others' best interests at heart even if they have a difficult time communicating their feelings to outsiders. Many animal metaphors, wild peripheral characters, and the boys' constant consumption of bananas give the story a sense of magical realism and drive home the idea that these boys sometimes feel like aliens in their own bodies. The short length and snappy dialogue make it a good choice for reluctant readers.-Carlisle Kraft Webber.
Word Count: 29,344
Reading Level: 4.9
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.9 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 112306 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.9 / points:8.0 / quiz:Q40775
Lexile: 780L
Chapter 1I, Ronaldo Gonzalez, better known as Ronnie, was like any other boy until I turned thirteen and woke up as a chimpanzee. I examined my reflection in the bathroom mirror. What was this? The peachy fuzz on my chin? The splayed ears? The wide grin that revealed huge teeth? I played with my mouth, squeezing it as I had seen the chimpanzees do on Animal Planet, my favorite TV channel. I wiggled my ears. My nose appeared flatter than ever.Mom noticed the change right away. Instead of eggs, bacon, and buttered toast, my usual morning pick-me-up, I had a bowl of Froot Loops and a banana, but not before I juggled three apples and a single orange. I seemed to have been charged with an uncanny ability to keep things in the air.Whats gotten into you? She laughed. You should be in the circus!Its my birthday, I answered. I was glad that I had been born in spring. Spring was when the mountains appeared majestically in the distance and retirees got out their mowers to clobber the first dandelions sprouting on their lawns. Spring was when birds and flowers did their magic of lifting the souls of regular people.I could see Mom registering in her mind that I was no longer a kid. She pulled at my cheek tenderly and told me that I was a young man and that soon she would lose me to some trashy girl. Of course, I promised never to move away and that the trashy girl could come live with us.Mom playfully spanked my bottom thirteen times, my new age, and then asked me if I had hurt my leg. She had noticed that my gait seemed wider and was sort of rolling. She also inquired about my arms. They were hanging so low at my side that I could tie my shoes without bending over.Nah, Mom, I answered. Im okay.That morning I felt curiously different, and even older when Mom let me sit at the head of the kitchen tableever since Dad had taken off, his place usually held piles of clean laundry. And thats what I did that morning. I accepted my position as head of the table, whipping out the newspaper and muttering to myself that the San Francisco Giants were already four behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.I was suddenly a teenage chimp. My best friend, Joey Rios, a few days older than me, had also turned into a chimp. For years we had been just like other boysmuddy, with scabs on our knees and elbowsuntil we both had growth spurts. Our arms, it seemed, hung a few inches longer and our ears sprung out from the sides of our heads. We caught ourselves beating our chests and jumping, especially Joey, who was a wrestler. Each time he pinned an opponent hed jump up and down and circle the mat, pacing off his territory. He just couldnt help himself.And how we could climb! Joey and I often scaled the tall tree in front of his house, where we sat for hours. Most of our talk involved girls and food. We avoided talking about our looks, as we were doubtful that we were handsome. Indeed, I sometimes played a refrain in my mind: We ugly, we real ugly.Do you know the meaning of life?

Excerpted from Mercy on These Teenage Chimps by Gary Soto
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

On his thirteenth birthday, Ronnie woke up feeling like a chimp--all long armed, big eared, and gangly. He's been muddling through each gawky day since. Now his best friend, Joey, has turned thirteen, too--and after Joey humiliates himself in front of a cute girl, he climbs a tree and refuses to come down. So Ronnie sets out to woo the girl on Joey's behalf. After all, teenage chimps have to stick together. Acclaimed author Gary Soto tells a fun and touching story about friendship, understanding, and the painful insecurities of being thirteen.

*Prices subject to change without notice and listed in US dollars.
Perma-Bound bindings are unconditionally guaranteed (excludes textbook rebinding).
Paperbacks are not guaranteed.
Please Note: All Digital Material Sales Final.