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>One for the boys

>Sorry, you all; I know the last week on this blog has been like sitting in class and getting hand-outs from Teacher. I’ve been quite busy with BGHB stuff and proofreading the Guide.

Whereupon. Whereupon I had one of those old-fashioned, Jane O’Reilly “clicks!” of recognition, although in my case it was not a housewife’s moment of truth; it was the realization that I do indeed work in a female-intensive profession, one wherein no one but a man would even blink at proofreading the following passage:

Mischievous Little Monkey causes trouble while Big Monkey tries to work. When it’s finally playtime, Big Monkey explains that he might not always like Little Monkey’s behavior, but he always loves Little Monkey. (from a review of I Love You, Little Monkey.)

That men think about sex every seven seconds is apparently not true, but with a world intent on throwing it in our faces even in books for the young it can be very difficult to focus.

Speaking of boys, I’m off to New York tomorrow to interview Jon “Big Monkey” Scieszka for our upcoming special issue, “Boys and Girls.” I will also be attending a memorial service for my friend Janet McDonald, and seeing another bold monkey, Bruce Brooks. Back Friday.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Elizabeth says:

    >Roger, are the sex of Big and Little Monkey even specified in that book? Your reviewer may have assigned the pronouns herself. Have someone check while you’re out of town.


    Elizabeth, who’s putting Roger up on his trip to NYC but isn’t listed among the people Roger’s visiting. How does the Ramada Inn sound?

  2. >Evil. Hilarious, but evil.

  3. Roger Sutton says:

    >Elizaebth: Mars to Venus, Mars to Venus–Please forgive us.

    (And PS to Eisha and all: this is not to say that the Guide Goddesses are chaste in their comments, either. I blush to think of some of the creative “editing” I’ve seen from them.)

  4. Anonymous says:

    >I’m sorry to be so obtuse, but could you please explain what about the passage caused the click?

  5. Anonymous says:

    >Anon — Oh, if you have to ask what caused the click — I mean, that’s the point of the post (as I read it). The click is always there!

  6. >Oh, for God’s sake, Little Monkey is Big Monkey’s penis, at least in Roger’s mind.

  7. >Cheeky monkey.

  8. Anonymous says:

    >Monkey see, monkey do.

  9. Melinda says:

    >At least Little Monkey didn’t get into trouble and Big Monkey didn’t spank him. Okay, everyone into the gutter!

  10. >I feel just the slightest bit immature giggling about this, hee!

    And I do love the fact that there is a “Children’s Writers as Sneaks” heading.

  11. Anonymous says:

    >Boys will be boys!!!!!

  12. Curious George says:

    >First person to post a monkey remark that RS feels obligated to remove wins!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    >Ok, I’ll bring this back on topic. Are there any YA novels in which the habit of men referring to their penises by name is referred to? Has Adam Rapp ever tried it, for example?

    And by the way, I acquired Little Monkey as a publisher, and none of us ever saw the innuendo which seems oh so obvious to Roger. And I ask again, are we sure the characters in the book are men?

    Finally, will we ever see a children’s book with the dreaded euphemism “Va jay jay?”

  14. rindawriter says:

    >Oh, me….oh my….when Big Monkey’s away, little monkeys will play….

    Whoever said monkeys were CUTE and SWEET and desirable? I want to see more naughty monkeys in picture books.

    I once got bitten by a gibbon when I was young…and once saw another gibbon nearly kill a family’s pet dog by dangling it over a two-story veranda…and the trauma of those two epxereinces have left me alas forever unable to enjoy most monkeys, big or little, in most picturebooks, Curious George being an exception. And I am not intending any innuendos in saying, Anonymouses…….so don’t monka around with meta monkey comments about what I just said….

  15. brass monkey says:

    >I don’t think that Roger was saying that the innuendo is in the book itself, just that it pops up (sorry) in that one choice sentence from the review.

  16. Monica Edinger says:

    >Elizabeth asks: “Are there any YA novels in which the habit of men referring to their penises by name is referred to?”

    Well, yeah, there is Burgess’ DOING IT. One of the many reasons I couldn’t stand the book was that one of the boys gave his, uh, member a cute name.

  17. Anonymous says:


    Judy’s Blume’s FOREVER, of course! Who could forget Ralph?


  18. >And I quote: “When Little Monkey came back down again, Big Monkey put his arm around him.”

    So I’d say they are both boys. But thanks, Elizabeth, for checking.

    And the day that Roger blushes, well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.

  19. Melinda says:

    >Chris Crutcher has a guy cut a hole in a popcorn bucket and sticks his norton through it. When the girl who’s eating the popcorn figures out what’s going on, she pours her pop on Norton and leaves.

    That’s the only name I could remember, though.

  20. Anonymous says:

    >A group of monkeys may be referred to as a mission or a tribe.

  21. Roger Sutton says:

    >Kitty–his ARM? Jeez . . .

  22. Anonymous says:

    >tgeawr, Thank you for the explanation. (I’m the Anonymous who was being obtuse above.)

    I don’t personally have a penis (nor do I have brothers or a husband or many male co-workers) so insights into the “male” way of thinking don’t come intuitively to me.

  23. >I wonder if you can work this discussion into the special issue. Well…maybe you shouldn’t.

    Oh, and Roger? Different strokes for different monkeys.

  24. Anonymous says:

    >The first comment from tgeawr just made this my new-favorite-must read-blog.

    Lerve it.

  25. Anonymous says:

    >your blog is the number one google search result for “how big is a monkey’s penis” …. its a true story try it!

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