Thanks to Scholastic, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the first two books in the “Monkey Me” Branches series by Timothy Roland – Monkey Me and the Golden Monkey and Monkey Me and the Pet Show. Branches is “a unique line of books specifically designed for newly independent readers who are ready to make the exciting leap from leveled readers, but not quite prepared for a traditional chapter book.” My now second grader is reading on a third grade level, so he’s beyond the target audience, yet he still loves these books about a hyper boy who transforms into a monkey when he gets excited. Since I somehow misplaced the third book when I received it a few months ago, and the final book comes out September 30, I’m writing up both books in one post.
In Monkey Me and the New Neighbor, Clyde finally comes up with the perfect thing for Show-and-Tell — a prized baseball card — but bully Roz throws it into the bushes. To add insult to injury, Clyde and Claudia’s new neighbor is Principal Murphy! Imagine Clyde’s surprise when she is not only nice, but also collects baseball cards. Clyde once again saves the day in his monkey way when thieves steal her box of cards.
Monkey Me and the School Ghost comes out just in time for Halloween, and it’s Halloween for Clyde and Claudia too. When Roz the bully is blamed for Principal Murphy’s purse being stolen, Clyde has to find out who the real culprit is, even if it means Roz won’t be out of his life. The twins also find out it’s possible Clyde won’t change back into a human after being a monkey.
I don’t know if this series will stop at 4 books but I really hope it doesn’t. My sixth grader steals the books from his brother, and I have to admit I enjoy reading them as well. Clyde and Claudia are resonant of real siblings, fighting one minute but friends the next. Claudia’s frustration with her hyper brother is understandable, but he also helps her loosen up a bit.
I highly recommend these books to both boys and girls in the 6-8 age range (and their older siblings who want to borrow them).