OKIE-DOKIE, ARTICHOKIE!

Grace Lin, Author . Viking $14.99 (30p) ISBN 978-0-670-03623-3

Marklee, the monkey tenant of apartment 4B, has a new downstairs neighbor, Artichoke the giraffe. Artichoke seems a bit reserved, but the ebullient Marklee clearly relishes saying, "Okie-Dokie, Artichokie!" and, in an effort to be neighborly, offers, "If I get too loud or something, you can just bang on the ceiling and let me know." That seems to open the floodgates for Artichoke—"Bang! Bang!" emanates from 3B's ceiling whenever Marklee does anything, including eating crunchy cereal. Is Artichoke really an "old grump"—or could there be another explanation? Lin's (Dim Sum for Everyone ) crisply inked outlines and bright, flat colors both reinforce Marklee's wounded certitude and ensure that the mood of the story never grows irreversibly dark. Of course, it's all a big misunderstanding, and one that is fortuitously resolved at Christmas: Marklee mistakenly receives a package addressed to the giraffe, and he almost throws it out as payback. But a fit of holiday remorse prompts him to do the right thing—whereupon he discovers the real reason behind Artichoke's banging. Young readers will come away from this story understanding that it's never a good idea to jump to conclusions (especially on a hardwood apartment floor). Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
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