Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Picture Book Review: Maybe... by Chris Haughton (2021)

Quick Booktalk

Three little monkeys are warned by their grown-up not to go down to the mango tree because there are tigers down there. The monkeys, thinking they know better, disobey and visit the mango tree anyway. 

About the Illustrations

The pictures in this book all have a red background and most of the time, only monkeys, mangoes, and trees appear against it. The monkeys have large white eyes with black pupils, and bodies of dark blue and green. The tigers, when they appear in the background, are depicted using a dull red color that hides them from the monkeys. When they come out to attack, they are orange with black scribbles making up their features. The illustrations depend largely on facial expression and body posture to tell their piece of the story. Kids will delight in knowing the tigers are present before the monkeys notice them and the visual drama when the tigers finally pounce makes for a very exciting and satisfying climax to the book.  

Story Time Possibilities

This book could probably work for story time, provided the performer points out the tigers when they appear in the background, as they are the only piece of the pictures that may not be noticeable at a distance.  Otherwise, this book suits a plethora of themes: monkeys, the jungle, fruit (mangos), tigers, danger, obedience, and even foolishness. The fact that the ending is left open and the monkeys obviously don't learn their lesson also makes it a good book for sparking discussion with preschool and even early elementary audiences.

Readers Advisory

This book attempts to teach its monkeys a lesson, but they are unwilling to learn. Thankfully, the reader is probably not so foolish and will disagree with the monkeys' future plans as suggested by the final pages of the story. The book is funny, but the lesson about listening to adults and appreciating possible dangers also comes across well and will likely be taken seriously by young readers. I didn't like this book quite as much as this author's Shh, We Have a Plan but the tone in both books is very similar and fans of one will enjoy the other. I read this book to my three oldest kids, ages 3, 5, and 7, and they all enjoyed it and all agreed that the monkeys were not very wise.


I received a finished copy of Maybe... from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.

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