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Banana Tail

Posted: Wednesday, November 26, 2008
By: Alex Rodriguez

Mark McKenna
Mark McKenna, Kevin West, Chia-Chi Wang
Banana Tale Press
The cover of this book says it all -- this is a fun read for parents and a great time for kids! Banana Tail is the story of a monkey, who since he was a baby was told by his mother ďEat too many bananas -- Thatís what you will be.Ē Now he has discovered that his tail has turned yellow and he is convinced that he is becoming a banana. With his friends Reena (an emotional, mood color changing rhino) and Tic-Tac (a timid plaid zebra) they set off to see if they can change back Banana Tailís tail but find in the end that being true to oneself is the best lesson of all.

This is a great book and a must read for parents with children between the ages of 2 and 7. The idea for Banana Tail was born years ago when creator Mark McKennaís father told him about an idea he had for a monkey who ate so many bananas that he himself was turning into a banana. After the passing of his father, McKenna felt that he had to share the story with the world and, after some fine tuning, Banana Tail was brought to life.

The design and structure of rhyming brought back fond memories to this reader of times when his mother use to sit at his bedside and read him stories before he fell asleep. McKenna, a 24-year comic book pro, shows off his writing abilities by providing us with fun and childish characters. The rhyming structure of the book works well and is easy to follow, allowing the reader to pick up on its rhythm and timing quickly.

What can be said about the art, but that it is what a childrenís book should be. The pages are colorful and full of life. The expressiveness of the characters is indicative of its ability to reach out to the children being read to and its appeal to those children who are reading it to themselves. As I was reading through the book, I could even hear the moments in my mind when I know children would giggle and laugh as Banana Tail got himself into more craziness, and I couldnít help but smile to myself as well.

The artistic choice used by McKenna and his team to introduce the change to Banana Tailís tail is great. By placing a blemish on the tip of his tail and having a segment of hair out of place, Banana Tailís tail is made to look like a snake.

But what is most important about this book is the message it sends to the kids it is being read to or those who have chosen to read the book on their own. This book offers a lesson in friendship, being true to oneself, and embracing our differences. Reena and Tic-Tac never leave Banana Tailís side throughout his whole ordeal, never realizing how unique they truly are as well. By the end of the book, Banana Tail has tried many different things, but when faced with the choice to give up what he has loved his entire life, bananas, so that his tail can return to normal he realizes that this is who he is and him and his friends are unique and special in their own way and he wouldnít have it any other way.

All in all, this is a must have. If you have young children or your friends do, this would make a great addition to their library and a great Holiday gift. All Banana Tail books and products are available through

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