Thursday, July 9, 2015

"Anna, Banana, and the Monkey in the Middle"

Anica Mrose Rissi is a writer, storyteller, and editrix; a fan of dogs and ice cream; a little sister; an aunt; and a country mouse who fell in love with the city. She is the author of Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split, plus three more books in the Anna, Banana illustrated chapter-book series. Her essays have been published by Italian Cooking & Living magazine and the New York Times.

Rissi applied the Page 69 Test to Anna, Banana, and the Monkey in the Middle (the second book in the Anna, Banana series), and reported the following:
In Anna, Banana, and the Monkey in the Middle, Anna and her friends are on a class trip to the zoo. The trip is fun and exciting, but also worrisome for Anna, who feels caught in the middle as her two best friends keep choosing opposite sides on everything…and forcing Anna to choose between them. As Anna describes it on page 59, “I felt like they were playing a game of tug-of-war and I was the rope.”

By page 69, Anna has finally told her friends they’re making her feel like the monkey in the middle, and the girls have found what they think is a good solution: They’ve promised to share things equally, decide everything together, and do all things exactly the same way. That way everything will be fair and no one will ever feel left out…right?

It won’t work out as smoothly as planned, of course (after all, there are still 47 pages to go), but on page 69 the girls are feeling hopeful, triumphant, and relieved…until their classmate Justin comes along to tease them (and eases the tensions with some comic relief). One thing the three friends can easily agree on: Justin is being annoying.

Page 69 doesn’t feature as many adorable and funny animals as the rest of the book (it was so fun writing a book set at the zoo!) or mention Banana, Anna’s very important dog (a dachshund), but it’s a good snapshot of the emotional conflict, and includes one of Meg Park’s adorable illustrations, of Justin teasing Anna and Anna giving him A Look.
Visit Anica Mrose Rissi's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Anica Mrose Rissi & Arugula.

--Marshal Zeringue