Monty's Magnificent Mane by Gemma O'Neill


Monty's Magnificent Mane by Gemma O'Neill

Monty the lion loves his long, golden mane. He thinks it's magnificent and he's not happy when his meerkat friends mess it up. Storming off to the waterhole, he's cheered up by the flattery of a new friend...who turns out to be a hungry crocodile! Monty runs away, leading the scary croc straight to his friends. With a huge ROAR! Monty saves the day, and realises that friendship is more important than good looks.


A lion named Monty is so proud of his mane that he nearly causes disaster for himself and his little meerkat friends.A charming double-page spread shows Monty relaxing on his back and happily fiddling with a lock of his autumn-hued tresses with one padded paw. The large-print text reads, Meet Monty, King of the Jungle. Monty loves his long, curly, beautiful mane. No one else has a mane quite like his. Monty thinks it's magnificent. The next few pages show Monty allowing about a dozen tiny meerkats to play in and around his mane, until the mane becomes dirty and matted! In an especially amusing sequence, the meerkats try to make amends by braiding Monty's mane and decorating it with feathers, to no avail. As he stalks off to the watering hole, one little meerkat says timidly, Remember to be careful of the... Of what? Of the little creature in the water who expresses admiration for Monty's mane and invites the lion to come a little closer ? The suspense builds to a SNAP! that readers will anticipate, as the concealed crocodile opens its scary but comical pointy-toothed jaw. Little ones will enjoy the animated scenes, the threatening but ineffectual crocodile, and a vertical two-page spread that deliciously illustrates the lion's mighty, capitalized ROARS! The colorful illustrations are enhanced by tiny scraps of newsprint and maps. The tried-and-true fable about curbing vanity and appreciating friends enjoys a fresh touch with these ebullient African animals. (Picture book. 2-5) Kirkus Reviews Monty's Magnificent Mane by Gemma O'Neill is marvelous, simply marvelous! OK, I do love this, but I use marvelous because of the MMs. Monty has a giant ego about his hair. The meerkats play with it, he struts his stuff, he admires himself in the shimmery waterhole, where there is a friend lurking, crocodile who chomps off a big chunk of his mane. So Monty hightails it out of there until the meerkats are in trouble, then he saves them. So I'm glad Monty overcame his egotism to help his friends. But I also love this title because of the mixed media. The collage and wild colors of the mane are amazing! I mean when someone can make muddy, murky water beautiful, that's cool. And she manages to make Monty's mane look like its fire. I love it. With the mixed media you don't know exactly how that's done, but I'm looking into that. It appears to be colored pencil, some crayon, bits of newspaper and maps, and other specialty papers. I would imagine some digital coloring too. -- Dianna Burt Picture Book Palooza

About the Author

Gemma O'Neill

Gemma O’Neill is an illustration graduate from University College Falmouth. She met the Templar team at the Bologna Book Fair, who were instantly struck by her fresh style. Gemma’s first picture book, Oh Dear Geoffrey, was signed up before graduation, and is due to publish in January 2013. She is currently working on her second picture book for Templar.

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Book Info


40 pages


Gemma O'Neill
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Publication date

1st August 2014



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