Author: Maggie van Galen
Illustrator: Joanna Lundeen   
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-4327-7982-5

Children should be taught early there is a reason to listen and do as your parents or those in authority tell you to do, especially when it protects you and keeps you from harm. In Maggie van Galen’s children’s book, The Adventures of Keeno and Ernest “The Banana Tree,” it is reiterated that there are consequences when you disobey and disregard rules.

This unnumbered but around twenty five pages, over-sized hardbound book has a colorful drawing of a monkey hugging an elephant’s trunk with a toucan bird on its head on the front jacket cover. The back has a paragraph about the book and author biography. Illustrator Joanna Lundeen portrays bright colors in her artworks, having the same banana tree scene on every right side of the page with wording incorporated in it and that page’s story scene depicted on the left side. The book is targeted toward young children through early elementary school and there is one scary scene that is easily explained and understood. There are some misspellings for emphasis that may confuse a beginning reader.

This short, charming tome is about a mischievous monkey named Keeno whose best friend in the jungle is a smart, responsible elephant named Ernest. Curious Keeno spies the best looking banana tree he has ever seen but it is across the river, where his parents have told him never to go without them as there are animals that could eat them. When even Ernest refuses to help him across the river, Keeno’s greed for those amazing bananas gets the best of him and he builds a raft and ventures across the river.

Not considering the rushing waters going downhill, Keeno and his raft are immediately swept along in the current to a rushing noise. When the stubborn monkey asks Toucan Tom what the strange noise is, he is told he is headed toward a waterfall. Keeno begs Tom to quickly get Ernest for help as he always knows what to do. Ernest rushes to his side, rescuing him out of the moving waters before he approaches the waterfall. They agree to get bananas from their regular tree. In the end they have to tell Keeno’s parents what happened.

This story is an excellent source to remind a child to listen to his or her parent or other adults to stay out of danger. With its jungle background, it teaches the young person about friendship, helping and depending on each other and explaining one’s shortcomings to parents.

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