The Monkey and the Engineer
Redpsych Productions (2007)
Reviewed by Conner (age 4) and Mom for Reader Views (4/08)
The words for this story were adopted from a one-man band songwriter, Jesse “The Lone Cat” Fuller, in the earlier 1900s. It is a rhythmic telling of near-rhymes of what happens when a monkey gets control of the train.
“What did you think of the book?”
“I love it. I like the story. That’s all. I love it when the monkey drives off.”
“Cause it’s funny. That’s all.”
“Do you think it was right for the monkey to drive off with the train?”
“’Cause you need a captain.”
“What does a captain do?”
“He drives the ship.”
“Do you think the monkey was lucky?”
“No, because he shouldn’t drive off.”
“Do you think the engineer was mad when he caught up to the monkey?”
“I don’t know, no?”
I thought the illustrations in “The Monkey and the Engineer” really brought out what was happening in the lyrics. Not being familiar with any of the song versions of the story, I found it better to read the book as a book and not try to sing the story. The near-rhymes require someone who has a stronger musical talent than is in my ability. But I did appreciate the history behind the story and having a place to go where I could hear the song sung. We tried following the story with the music and that made the words have more zing when looking at the pictures.