“Zoe and the I Can’t Monkey” by Adrian Lortie

“Zoe and the I Can’t Monkey” by Adrian Lortie 175 263 Reader Views Kids

Zoe and the I Can’t Monkey
Adrian Lortie
Tellwell Talent (2023)
ISBN: 978-0228889755
Reviewed by Lily Andrews for Reader Views (05/2023)

“Zoe and the I Can’t Monkey” is a budding children’s book that follows a young girl, Zoe, and her monkey, Posso. Written in the first-person narrative, Zoe narrates her journey of learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels, when she was five and a half years old. Her friends had started riding their bikes without backup wheels and she wanted to try it too. She suggested the idea to her parents who agreed to it with her dad taking off the training wheels. Thus begins Zoe’s difficult but possible course of learning to ride her bicycle just like her friends while constantly dismissing negative thoughts through positive self-talk.

From its exquisite watercolor illustrations by Natalia Peña, awash with sprightly surroundings, and its sublime prose, this short gem undulates, shifting between an intelligent plot and unique lessons. Zoe, the main character, is a charming and spirited young girl that the author uses to depict every other child’s eye-view of things and the emotional turmoil they experience upon failing all too many times. The presence of her parents, who encourage her and cheer her on, serves to show that children need emotional support as they try out new things and achieve their dreams.

“Zoe and the I Can’t Monkey” by Adrian Lortie, is a charming tour de force that will captivate even an attention-wandering child. Valuable takeaways and life mantras for children and adults alike lie in this virtuosic performance. Lortie’s evocative language elucidates the book’s unfettering theme: The power of self-affirmation to overcome life’s challenges. She goes further by explaining difficult but important terms at the end of the book along with parental tips to guide parents on how to be a support system for their children.

Among the book’s strengths is the book’s title which aptly brings the story to life by connecting with the reader’s senses. Also, the dialogue between characters in the read-out-loud story deftly creates the mood and tone of the story, an aspect that young readers will gel with. “Zoe and The I Can’t Monkey” is truly a five-star work that deserves a place on every child’s shelf. Its relevant theme is a go-to reference text for every young child.

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