There are over 260 known species of monkey on our planet and 44 are featured in this magnificent book. In sixteen double spreads, we learn ‘What are Monkeys?’, our relationship to them in terms of evolution (Is a Monkey my Uncle?), their distribution across the globe, how to tell the difference between Old World and New World species (it’s all in the nose), of their diverse size and appearance, social life, habitats, diet, interaction with man and much more besides.
The species referred to in the book are listed in an index that gives their common and scientific names grouped under their geographical locations and family, and whether they are New or Old World Monkeys.
Owen Davey imparts an amazing number of fascinating facts and much scientific information in a prose style that is direct, child friendly and totally accessible without in any way talking down to his audience.
His stylized illustrations are things of beauty using grace of line, shapes and patterns and blocks of colour to capture the essential characteristics of each species, rendering them instantly recognizable. His troupe of Hanuman Langurs on the social life spread for instance, were instantly recognisable to me having myself observed these creatures on many occasions leaping over the rooftops and grazing on the courtyard trees in Udaipur, India.
The balance between text and illustrations is spot on, and the use of thick matt pastel shade paper adds to the almost sensuous pleasure of turning the pages and poring over the delights within.