Once Upon a Banana
Once Upon a Banana
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Annotation: Everyday signs serve as captions for this pictorial tale of what happens after a man tosses a banana peel into the garbage can and misses.
Catalog Number: #6074623
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition Date: 2013
Illustrator: Small, David,
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-689-85951-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-689-85951-9
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2013362006
Dimensions: 30 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
A rambunctious monkey gets away from his juggler and grabs a banana from a shopkeeper's display. And so it begins. Tossing the peel aside, he watches as he sets off a chain of bumbling, tumbling events. A Hell's Angels type slips on the peel, causing a ladder to tremble, knocking off the painter, who falls into a shopping cart, which causes a traffic jam . . . and so it goes, with dogs barking, people falling, and the juggler chasing the monkey throughout the oversize pages. This wordless picture book has a lot going for it: a frenetic energy that translates to the page, interesting perspectives and bird's-eye views, and all the while capturing the excitement at this series of unfortunate events. Readers, however, will have to be old enough to understand and follow the domino effect of the action (and know what it means to slip on a banana peel). Happily, Small's sprightly artwork, executed in ink and watercolor, is just made for a second look.
Kirkus Reviews
In a tour de force of visual sequencing captioned only by a set of rhyming street and shop signs, Small sets up a hilarious chain of events along a busy city street. <p>In a tour de force of visual sequencing captioned only by a set of rhyming street and shop signs, Small sets up a hilarious chain of events along a busy city street. The action starts on the front endpapers as a street performer's monkey snatches a banana from a fruit stand and tosses the peel onto the sidewalk. This sets off an escalating ruckus that moves around the block (and is actually mapped out on the rear endpapers), involving pedestrians, a painter atop a ladder, cars and trucks, dogs (lots of dogs), much flying through the air and a hurtling carriage with a delighted baby on board (for part of the way, anyway). Composed in fluent pen lines and watercolor brushwork, the scenes are chock full of comically dismayed characters, and surprisingly easy to follow despite the frenetic activity. In addition, for all its brevity, the text sets up a strong background rhythm--"4-Way Stop / Barber Shop / One-Way Street / NO BARE FEET"--that complements the breathless visual pacing. Ultimately, a disastrous encounter between a careening garbage truck and an entire shipment of bananas brings the tale back to where it began, whereupon all of the participants, human and otherwise, gather in a closing spread for an amicable bananafest. More fun than a barrel of . . . well. <i>(Picture book. 5-8)</i></p>
School Library Journal Starred Review
PreS-Gr 4-In this hilarious book, a monkey's craving for a banana turns the streets of a busy city upside down. The mostly wordless tale is told through rhyming street signs and delightfully detailed watercolor paintings. On the first spread, a juggling performer, dressed in a motley jester's costume, watches as his wild-eyed monkey runs away. The creature heads down the street and bounds into a bin filled with bananas. While the grocer rails at the monkey's owner, the animal runs across the street clutching his prize. Next, it tosses the peel onto the sidewalk near a trash-can sign that reads, "Please Put Litter in Its Place" as a motorcycle sputters past with two tough-faced riders. After pulling over under another sign ("No Parking in This Space"), the pair dismount, and, of course, the driver slips on the peel. When this and future mishaps occur, suspense, thrills, chaos, and comedy result. Readers will soon understand that all of the background characters-small figures holding cell phones, Rollerblading, pushing baby carriages-will soon be drawn onto center stage. The book ends with an aerial map of the city block and a key identifying the locations of the signs, allowing kids to retrace the action. A glorious escapade packed with child appeal.-Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly

Armstrong (Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat) and Small (So You Want to be President?) join forces for this sublimely silly wordless story, which brings to mind a silent short by Laurel and Hardy (who make a cameo appearance). The action gets underway even before the title page, when a street juggler's pet monkey runs off and steals a deli's outdoor stall. Blithely ignoring the sign reading "Please put litter in its place," the monkey tosses the banana peel on the sidewalk, thus triggering a book-long, slapstick-rich chase that covers an entire city center and ensnares a cavalcade of characters, including a passel of dogs, an airborne baby and a banana-packed dump truck. The running joke is that none of the street signs meant to impose order on urban life ("4 way stop," "Keep off the grass!" "Look both ways") has any effect on damping the mounting chaos, and in the twist ending, the juggler winds up a hero. Small's loose yet precise ink lines and watercolor wash seem ideal for these crowded streets where anarchy abounds. He clearly relishes choreographing the huge, motley cast and effortlessly connects the geography of one spread to another; the pages overflow with enough pratfalls and comic asides to reward many readings. Even the closing endpapers play a role, tracing the chain of events. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)

Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3

Everyday street signs act as deadpan captions for the slapstick happenings in this ingenious picture book that is hilariously told in street signs. Go!

The sign says: “Put litter in its place.” But someone isn’t paying attention. He drops a banana peel on the ground—and a series of comical slips, spills, and falls are set hilariously into motion. First the grocer, then the painter, next the bicycle messenger, and then—oh, no—not the baby in the carriage! An entire town turned upside down, all by a banana peel!

Caldecott Medalist David Small and award-winning author Jennifer Armstrong have created a roller-coaster ride of a picture book told in rhyming street signs that will tickle and delight readers from beginning to end, over and over again.

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