Just Monkeying Around: Best of Funny Things I Heard at the Bus Stop Series plus new story featuring Mopsy Monkey

By Angela Giroux

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Phew! That was quite a mouthful for a title. This book packs quite a punch. It includes several stories from Giroux’s bus stop series. It also features an introduction to the new series featuring the Mopsy Monkey character. On top of that, the author is offering a free copy of Goblins in the Garden if the purchaser signs up for her newsletter.

These stories are quite amusing for both children and adults. They are quirky, but definitely not slapstick funny. I can’t feature all of them so I decided to give an overview of three of them as well as introduce the Mopsy character.

In A Visit From Nonna Esmeralda, we meet twins Aidan and Hayden who are eagerly awaiting the arrival of their grandmother who lives in Italy and whom they have never met. Nonna has traveled the world and is certainly not your conventional grandmother. Aidan is sitting at the table eating breakfast when suddenly the bowl of cereal goes flying all over the place including the face of Nonna, who has just entered the room. The family watches as Nonna opens her suitcase full of presents. Hayden receives a Egyptian pyramid that contains a secret compartment for a mummy; this is really appropriate because he wants to be an archaeologist when he grows up. Aidan patiently waits his turn. He is sorely disappointed when he receives an old cracked bowl. But Nonna assures him that it has magic powers! He can use it to wish himself anywhere he wants to go. His first wish is to visit the mall. Will this really work? Is this how Nonna has been able to travel all over the world?

My Alien Friend features a boy named Ethan playing in his backyard with his alien space toys when an alien space ship lands. A Green boy who calls himself Gorp uses a green light to perform magic. He swirls all of Ethan’s toys off the shelf. They start playing among themselves. Gorp suggests that they play dress up, but all the clothes wind up lying in a heap on the floor. They proceed to the kitchen. I think you can imagine what happens next. Ethan’s mother has not yet met Gorp. He and Ethan have been having a great time, but will there be a price to pay? Will Gorp decide to stay on earth with his new found friend?

Bob is an average kid who loves playing with his friends. Perhaps he does enjoy eating sweets a bit too much. The Pimple is the title of his story. One day Bob notices a red patch on his cheek which is rapidly becoming a bump. He is not upset, but feels rather proud that he is growing up. He puts on his black pants and blue striped dress shirt. His mom ruins his mood when she covers the pimple with makeup because she mistakenly thinks that he is dressing up for picture day at school. When Anna, the girl he likes, stares at him he is elated.  Then he discovers that she is grossed out because the pimple has grown to the size of a marble with yellow pus oozing out of it! As the day goes on, things get progressively worse. There is a twist and a surprise ending.

At the end of the book, Giroux introduces us to Mopsy Monkey, her new character. She is a charming little girl monkey who sets forth on her first adventure. Her mother allows her to go alone to collect frazzle berries, but she must be careful. On the journey, Mopsy meets a frog and a crocodile. Her mother has warned her about trusting strangers; now she has to make a choice. Should she take a chance and trust these strangers? Will she succeed in proving herself to her mother or will she be a failure? Just the beginning of a new series of books.

These books will appeal to children of all ages. Parents of young children can select one or two stories to read aloud.  They make good early reading books for children ages six through eight. The topics and characters vary so they will appeal to both boys and girls. Take a look and see!

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