The Purple Kangaroo
The Purple Kangaroo
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Annotation: After asking the reader to think of something spectacular, the narrator sets out to prove his ability to read minds by describing a preposterous situation and characters.
Catalog Number: #4481206
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition Date: 2010
Illustrator: Brown, Peter,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-416-95771-5
ISBN 13: 978-1-416-95771-3
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2008003534
Dimensions: 31 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
The author of Chicken Cheeks (2009) offers here an in-your-face, metafictive text reminiscent of the works of Mo Willems (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, 2003) and Melanie Watt (Have I Got a Book for You!, 2009). A monkey, claiming to read minds, proceeds to describe a roller-skating, banana-juggling, hula-hooping, bubble-gum-nose-blowing purple kangaroo that ends up on the moon searching for his wild-eyed chinchilla friend. At the end, faced with the reality that the reader is not imagining said character, Monkey retorts, "You're thinking of one now!!!" Peter Brown's digitally tweaked acrylic-and-pencil artwork makes use of many comic-book techniques, including cartoon-styled figures, speech and thought bubbles, and iconic lines to convey information. One close-up, for example, depicts the monkey's face, his pupils connected to spiraling purple lines representing an attempt to hypnotize the reader. While Black's comedic style may not appeal to every adult reader, the sheer silliness of these characters and situations is sure to be a hit with its intended listeners.
Horn Book
A monkey tries to convince skeptical readers of its ESP ability ("Hey, kid. Guess what? I can read minds"). The story's punch line isn't quite as funny as all that precedes it, but the raucous setup will have readers laughing. Mixed-media illustrations starring the monkey and a juggling, roller-skating marsupial abet the silly chain-yanking.
Kirkus Reviews
A snide monkey conjures descriptions of a purple kangaroo in order to tell a snarky joke. "Hey, kid," opens the direct-address narration, "I've got a supersecret, highly unusual, incredible, and amazing magical power. I can read minds." Readers are instructed to "think of something," and the monkey guesses it's a purple kangaroo. When the assumed reader presumably says no, he parlays his guess into further florid details (a purple kangaroo on roller skates, juggling bananas, on the moon, etc.). Punch line: You still insist you weren't thinking of a purple kangaroo? Well, "YOU'RE THINKING OF ONE NOW!!!" Fans of gotcha! jokes will snort and race off to try it on someone else, but some readers will feel derided as the frankly obnoxious monkey holds his stomach with laughter and crows, "See, I told you I could read your mind." Rational thinkers will insist that the monkey didn't read their mind. Brown's acrylic, graphite and digital illustrations feature flat, oversimplified forms that lack backgrounds and depth; facial expressions are mocking and exaggerated, emphasizing the tone of one-upmanship. (Picture book. 4-6)
Publishers Weekly

Drawing out a joke to fill 32 pages is a tricky proposition, and despite consistently droll artwork, Black's (Chicken Cheeks) second picture book has trouble delivering. “I want you to think of something so spectacular that nobody has ever thought of it in the entire history of thinking about things,” a wiseacre monkey directs readers. After inviting them to “[l]ook deeeeep into my eyes”—Brown (The Curious Garden) delivers a hysterical closeup of the primate (complete with pink hypno-swirls in its eyes)—the monkey shouts: “You were thinking about a purple kangaroo!... No? You weren't thinking about a purple kangaroo?” The monkey presses its case, adding over-the-top elements to an imagined story seen in thought bubbles. The purple kangaroo acquires roller skates, juggles bananas, blows bubble gum out of its nose, and eventually finds its best friend, “the wild-eyed chinchilla Señor Ernesto de Pantalones,” via a paisley blimp that takes it to the moon. But while the text and artwork are sprinkled with genuinely funny details, the monkey's often overlong additions sap the story's momentum as it proceeds to its inevitable punch line: “You're thinking of one now!!!” Ages 4–8. (Dec.)

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2 An enterprising monkey bets readers that he can read their minds. After asking them to think of "Something spectacular," the creature begins to guess what it is, envisioning an incredible scenario featuring a purple kangaroo seeking "his best friend, a wild-eyed chinchilla named Señor Ernesto de Pantalones." Using some rollicking tongue twisters, the monkey describes how the talented kangaroo roller skates, juggles bananas, and visits the Moon during his search. This uproarious, guffaw-filled page-turner will keep youngsters on their toes as the monkey creates an imaginary "mind-reading." Children will delight in the "conversation" between the monkey and readers that plays out like an old vaudevillian joke. The engaging artwork features muted acrylic paintings punctuated by the computer-generated monkey narrating each page. A silly, fun romp that kids will ask for again and again. C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (1/1/10)
Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (2/1/10)
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Reading Level: 1.0
Interest Level: P-2
Lexile: AD630L

The monkey narrator in this humorous picture book gaurantees that he can READ YOUR MIND. What begins as a simple request to imagine the most spectacular thing in history turns into the story of a roller-skating, bubble-blowing purple kangaroo searching for his dear friend Ernesto on the moon. So by the time you finish this book, there's no chance you will be thinking of anything BUT the purple kangaroo.

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