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The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear

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"Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2016"
B.R.A.G. Medallion

"Young readers who love to pretend will see Gracie as a kindred spirit and look forward to future seasonal adventures in this planned kids book series."
–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

- Available to Bookstores & Libraries through Ingram Book Group, Brodart
- Hardcover, paperback & ebook formats
- Ask for it at your local library

Adventure on land, sea and from the sky.

A rare friendship between a precocious girl and her dog turns into an incredible adventure every Saturday morning. From their backyard in Brooklyn, they find portals that open to new worlds. With each new doorway comes the opportunity to help those in need and create lasting friendships along the way. Gracie and MonkeyBear are tested at every turn... But can they make it home in time for dinner?

A wonderful read aloud.

48 pages, Hardcover

First published May 1, 2016

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About the author

C.S. O'Kelly

2 books38 followers
"Books should transcend, transport,
and most of all, inspire those who read them."
- C.S O'Kelly

Thanks to a small group of dedicated artists, editors and designers, C. S. O'Kelly is grateful to be able to create and author the storyworld of the children's picture book series 'The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear.'

Born to a loving mother with little money, but an abundance of imagination that she shared with C. S. during long walks, bike rides before helmets, and nightly readings from mountains of books. Stories of giants and elves, mythical beasts and powerful maidens filled the world of C. S. from the earliest of memories.

After finishing graduate school, C. S. sold off all five belongings, purchased a 1974 Ford 19 foot motorhome and went north. After almost ten years in SE Alaska, C. S. landed in warmer climes on a small ranch in Northern California where crafting stories and storyworlds seemed as natural as raising organic free range chickens for eggs only. To this day, C. S. travels the world, but always comes back to the small ranch with a home built with C. S.'s own hands near San Francisco, California.

The philosophy that young humans are born with innate, powerful and beautiful imaginations is the core for all of C. S. O'Kelly's works and a belief that permeates all things C. S.

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5 stars
38 (63%)
4 stars
15 (25%)
3 stars
6 (10%)
2 stars
1 (1%)
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0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 34 reviews
Profile Image for Kelley.
631 reviews116 followers
April 22, 2017
Picture book received courtesy of Goodreads.com First Reads Giveaway

"For all the girls in all the worlds. May you feel strength with your first breath, realize your unlimited potential for greatness on your second, and follow your dreams on your third." This quote is prominently displayed in the front of and on the back cover of this book. I love that "Girl Power" feeling! Gracie and her dog, Monkeybear, spend every Saturday freeing T-Rex's or repairing broken alien spaceships. After all, just because you're stuck in your own backyard doesn't mean you can't explore the universe! Gracie and Monkeybear even speak alien! Kids will like both the story and the terrific illustrations.

Kids will be wondering what the pair will do in the next season in the next book!
Profile Image for Jody McGrath.
350 reviews52 followers
September 17, 2016
Gracie is a dauntless child and she takes advantage of her Saturdays to go on backyard imagination adventures with her brilliant companion (and dog), Monkeybear. On this beautiful Summer day, the dog up a dinosaur and send him yo his home, help a space alien fix his ship, and help rescue a young whale trapped in a net. Gracie and Monkeybear even manage to do all that before grandma calls them to dinner!

First, I would like to thank the author for sending me this gorgeous book. She had it wrapped so beautifully it was as if I was receiving a present. It made the book seem precious.

The story was very cute and I liked that a simple play date in the backyard with her dog could turn into such an amazing adventure in her mind. The illustrations were amazing. They had bold colors and beautiful, yet child-friendly renderings of the pair and their daring deeds. I liked how the artist showed the everyday object and how it interacted with the imagined scenario. It was really cool. Monkeybear always talked in Roofs which I thought was sweet. The hard part was some of the language and made up language in the book is geared for older children, while perhaps the story is geared for younger children. I guess a parent would definitely have to help any child of a average reading level under 8 to understand some of the words. An example would be the Cretaceous Period. I know some adults that might have to google that one, lol!

The book was beautiful and imaginative though. I would definitely recommend it to 2nd graders, with maybe some discussion with an adult afterwards.
Profile Image for Jessica Mills.
8 reviews1 follower
July 13, 2016
First Impression. First and foremost, I would like to make note of the beautiful presentation and packaging of this book. I have never felt as if a book were such a treasure until now. I immediately felt as if I were somehow one of the luckiest people alive and couldn’t wait to unwrap the tissue to discover what kind of secret book lay waiting. I don’t know if anyone else gets this feeling, but you know a good book when you walk into Barnes and Noble and one draws your attention from a display in the distance with its beautiful illustrations and modern font. And you feel like you can’t go home without leaving it there because you will think about it constantly until you do? Well…. This book is going to be that type of book once it hits the shelves. This book has that type of cover.
Before receiving this book, I was unaware the author was speaking to “all the girls in all the worlds”. Having a daughter to share the book with makes me that much more excited to read it! The author has presented this book in a manner that gives the reader a sense of belonging and importance. I feel very grateful to have been chosen to read and review this book.

Content. Children love the sound of an adventure, especially if they know this is the first of several! I really enjoy the author’s creation of unique characters and representation of traits we hope to develop in our own children.

I do like that O’Kelly did not try too hard to create in-depth details and reasoning in every adventure. Younger children may have a harder time staying focused on a book with beautiful pictures but too many complicated scenarios. Each little imaginative endeavor was just enough to capture the creative spark of the reader before jumping off to something more interesting. An older reader might actually contemplate how certain aspects of each moment could have been realistic, such as the possibility of the pair actually finding bones in the backyard or hearing real noises in the pool. Such a fun thought for adults, also!

The layout of the pages makes for a fun adventure as well. My daughter has fun with rotating the book from landscape to portrait and back again! It makes it for a more interesting read. I will definitely invest in future releases and will happily share my positive experience with family and friends :)

To the author, you will be very successful in your current and future aspirations. I will always remember this book and will look forward to your upcoming Winter Adventure!!! Thank you so much for this wonderful book!
12 reviews
August 6, 2016
I received this book as a giveaway and after reading have passed it on to my neighbours little girl. Thank You for taking the extra time to beautifully present your book in tissue gift wrap. It certainly made it a welcoming surprise. The book is so wonderfully illustrated and the interesting imagery just jumps off the pages. I love the hard cover and durably of the pages which will last after years of page turnings.

The story line itself I felt was little bizarre but I guess it will appeal to a child's vivid imagination. You said in your note it was created for 4 + years. I am not so sure a 4 year old would grasp the make believe language "dooka" "a voosurian starship" "keezoo" "rashooma" " "cha mashoochoo " "tayvooka", "detectable underwater translator" in this book . It may be confusing for children who are only then learning to grasp normal vocabulary. I found those words overpowering and certainly would have trouble attempting to pronounce them. lol The sentence "Roof Roof Roof "explained" Monkey Bear used twice in the book doesn't sound right. Sorry I didn't grasp the context here. Was it meant to be "exclaimed" ? The story line may be more suited for an 8- 10 year old who would realize the words were made up. The adventure itself caters " to all the girls in all the worlds" . I am not sure I like this as if it was read to a little boy he would perhaps feel left out. Perhaps "to all little boys and girls in all the worlds" would be better suited . Maybe I am being oversensitive on this issue.

I can't wait to hear the little girls opinion on this book.

Profile Image for Iain Richmond.
Author 7 books9 followers
November 13, 2016
This is the first time I have EVER felt inspired to review a picture book. The Adventures of Gracie & MonkeyBear.

I bought the hardcover at our local bookstore as a gift for my niece & nephew– the cover simply called to me. The bookstore owner did tell me, however that it is not an easy book to find (but she expects that to change as more people ask for it). My niece & nephew wanted me to read it to them, so I did... wow is all I can say. My niece is 4 & my nephew is 9 and they loved it. The Voosurian language section is ridiculously fun (especially to hear young readers try and get through it without laughing).

What captured my own imagination was the kindness and spirited nature of the two heroes, Gracie & MonkeyBear. Genius dog & bold adventurer-girl! & never once did I (as an adult) feel preached to or had what I call a, "TODAY ON SUPER FRIENDS WE LEARNED..." moment. Gracie is fearless, powerful and inspiring & MonkeyBear is Einstein wrapped up in a furry coat.

This book is simply, different in all ways. Not sure how to express what a lovely, genuinely beautiful story, I found Book 1, except to say that I look forward to many more, and so do my niece & nephew.

I highly recommend this book for those who like the 'Road less travelled' kind of experience. Finally, please support your local bookstores.

Interested to see where this series is going!

Profile Image for Clyde.
7 reviews
July 16, 2016
I just finished reading this to my grandson for the third time this week. It is quickly becoming our go-to at bedtime. The bright colors and fun characters immediately draw us in to their next adventure. Each reading reveals something new on the page, inspires questions, and refines our T-Rex, Whale and Voosurian speak - which always results in great laughter. Can't wait for Book 2!
Profile Image for CJ.
629 reviews34 followers
September 21, 2016
This book is fantastic! Gracie is an adventurous wonder girl and willing to help and encourage all those in need. She has a confident and vibrant personality and I really enjoyed joining her on her adventurous day. I look forward to sharing more of her adventures in the future.
Profile Image for Katherine.
103 reviews19 followers
October 30, 2016
Got this as a Goodreads Giveaway. Lovely book for girls. Liked the story and the illustrations. Signature and bookmark a nice touch. Haven't given it a 5 as the pages have fallen out. Would have taken it back to the shop if I had bought it.
Profile Image for DENISE.
14 reviews188 followers
September 21, 2016
I read it to my niece, and she adored the stories and illustrations, as did I. This book is an absolute delight!
Profile Image for Sean Reed.
1 review1 follower
January 9, 2017
This is a fun book for kids. My wife has read it to two Kindergarten classes so far and the kids all loved it!
Profile Image for Erin.
3,654 reviews45 followers
March 13, 2021
I loved Gracie's imagination, and the illustrations are uniformly charming. The text lost me a bit during the alien translation section, and the dog's name being MonkeyBear was cute but didn't scan well for me. But overall, Gracie finds a dinosaur, helps a lost spaceship, and rescued a whale from their paddling pool. Each adventure showcased Gracie's adventurous and creative spirit, and her close relationship with her trusty pal MonkeyBear. I could see this being a fun family readaloud.
Profile Image for gj indieBRAG.
1,487 reviews63 followers
September 19, 2017
We are proud to announce that THE ADVENTURES OF GRACIE AND MONKEYBEAR by C.S. O'Kelly is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money!
Profile Image for Awesome Indies Book Awards.
550 reviews15 followers
August 20, 2021
Awesome Indies Book Awards is pleased to include THE ADVENTURES OF GRACIE & MONKEYBEAR (#1: Summer) by C.S. O’KELLY in the library of Awesome Indies' Badge of Approval recipients.

Original Awesome Indies' Assessment (5 stars):

The Adventures of Gracie & Monkeybear, Book 1: Summer is a fantastic children's book just in time for the holidays - packed with wonderful illustrations, a fun adventure and an important message about helping others. The titular Gracie is a young girl with an active imagination who goes on a journey with her faithful dog, Monkeybear. Their quest takes them on an archaeological expedition, to meet a friend from outer space and finally to the depths of the ocean. Along the way, Gracie and Monkeybear help out a tyrannosaurus, an alien and a whale who are all having bad days. The theme of helping those in need is prevalent through out, and Gracie and Monkeybear serve as kind and unselfish role models who show that you can make friends with anyone, regardless of your differences. The theme that you can do anything if you put your mind to it is also prevalent throughout.

The illustrations are beautiful with lots of little details and it's clear the artist put a lot of love into the aesthetic piece of the book. The bright colors of Gracie's imagined world are engaging and attention-grabbing when contrasted with the browns of "normal" reality, which are mostly relegated to the background. The story is easy to follow, and parents looking to grow their child's vocabulary will find some good ones in here. While adventurous girls who like to play outside might be the most obvious audience, there is something that every kid should enjoy in here. If you're looking for a well-written and wonderfully-illustrated book for a child in your life this holiday season, The Adventures of Gracie & Monkeybear is a real winner.
Profile Image for Ellie.
46 reviews
June 8, 2016
I was selected by GoodReads to receive a signed First Edition of this book and am pleased to be able to share my review here.
My first impression was that of interesting imagery and challenging vocabulary levels for the very young readers. One gets the feel of a brilliant little girl whose imagination knows no bounds.

Together with her sidekick, Monkeybear, a fuzzy big dog, good-natured, and very smart himself, Gracie spends her day outside to delve into three formidable adventures. They have maps, and plans, and know unusual languages to communicate with creatures in distress which seem to pop up unexpectedly. With their cleverness and resources Gracie and Monkeybear come to their aide, save and rescue them.

They impart their knowledge in an interesting manner, blurring, if not obliterating, the boundaries of reality and fantasy, just as a child would if given free rein.

As an adult who hasn’t read children’s books in a while, I had to read the book a couple of times to allow myself to sink into the fantasy world of a small child, which is so wonderful and limitless.

The stories work, even if a couple of words are on a higher reading level. Children are generally open to new words and new concepts and should love the challenge.

What also work are the wonderful illustrations by Jordy Farrell. They really complement the blurred reality and bring you and your little reader back at the end of entire day spent outside.

I look forward to seeing future stories of these two little adventurers.
Profile Image for Sarah.
93 reviews21 followers
May 31, 2016
Note: I won a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways

Even before I opened, the package fully, I was enamored with this book. The author went the extra mile in packaging for shipping that showed how much they care about their work. Opening the tissue paper, I was delighted with the artwork. This is a beautifully illustrated book. The dedication to girls everywhere was a great message to spread.

This is a charming story about a little girl and her dog and the adventures they go on in a single afternoon. The details in the artwork were fun, giving the adults something to find while reading it to a child. This pair gets up to many things in one afternoon, and I think it is good inspiration to other young children to allow their imagination to take them anywhere.

I will be keeping this around to read to future children and sharing with young cousins. I look forward to seeing what Gracie and MonkeyBear get up to in the winter!
Profile Image for R.J..
Author 4 books55 followers
July 27, 2016
I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

The Adventures of Gracie and MonkeyBear is a story that encourages kids to use their imagination. It’s super fun to read aloud as we follow Gracie and MonkeyBear on their many adventures, all taken place in their own backyard.

The story is creative and interactive, and the pictures are beautifully done. I love that the book is hardback, so it’s very durable and the pages are thick so it’s not easily torn. Gracie and MonkeyBear are a lot of fun to read about and I’m sure that the kids will love listening to their fascinating stories!

Overall, I give Gracie and MonkeyBear 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to children under 8 or 9 years old.

This review was originally published on Literature Approved (http://literatureapproved.wordpress.com)
Profile Image for Donna.
1 review
July 15, 2016
You don’t have to leave your backyard to have a great adventure. All you need is your imagination, a big heart, and your best friend.

With that, Gracie—she’s equal parts Dora the Explorer and Indiana Jones—and her resourceful canine pal MonkeyBear (real name Seamus, but don’t call him that), help Stuff-A-Mus the dinosaur find his way back to Montana, get a Voosurian starship back on the “road,” and free a whale named Wooliatha who’s caught in a net. And all in one busy Saturday!

Gracie’s adventures have a lot to say about helping others and are sure to trigger the imaginations of girls and boys. The entire family will enjoy the lively illustrations by Jordy Farrell, who draws from the work of Maurice Sendak.
Profile Image for Rebecca Markus.
Author 4 books40 followers
November 29, 2016
When it was time for bed, even my ten-year-old was riveted by this fun story. Gracie and her dog Monkeybear went straight from one adventure to another without skipping a beat or losing the reader. All of this imaginary fun took place in a single day in Gracie's backyard.

I love that the book encourages kids to get outside and play. It illustrates how a child can get so engrossed in pretend play that the sun is going down before they know it.

The Adventures of Gracie and Monkeybear is a wonderful book and apparently the first in a series which I'm looking forward to reading. The pictures are detailed and inspiring. The writing was great and I won't mind reading it to them again and again.
Profile Image for Nan O'Leary.
22 reviews3 followers
September 14, 2016
I received this book through a goodreads giveaway. I wanted to read it before I gave it to my two young grandsons ages 2 and 5. I know they will love it because it involves adventures, a dog and a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The main character is a girl but that should not stop anyone from reading it to a boy. It stresses the importance of being kind and how strong girls can be. This is important for all little boys to realize too. I thought the artwork was very imagative. It seems that Monkeybear is a fan of the classics and Albert Einstein is one of his heroes. At least he deserves to be on a poster on the dog's wall. In summery, an exciting lovely book.
Profile Image for Lynda.
97 reviews1 follower
May 30, 2016
Beautifully illustrated book of the adventures of Gracie and her wonderdog Monkeybear...encounters with a Tyrannosaurus, a Starship and a whale in the backyard pool! I do think some of the wording was a little heavy for younger children and maybe it's just me but i had a hard time reading the make believe language of the Voosurian starship captain JungJung Shoochoo.

I received this book free in a Goodreads Giveaway.
Profile Image for KarnagesMistress.
1,055 reviews7 followers
March 12, 2017
I couldn't always understand what was going on with this story, but I fear that may be my age showing. It's been a few decades since I was a young girl living in a fantasy world with my dog. However, thanks in large part to the lush artwork, I could begin to remember. I know that my niece will understand the book, so I was happy to send it to her. I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. It is autographed.
Profile Image for Anna Playford.
1 review35 followers
July 28, 2016
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for sending me the book!

I read it to my nephew for the first time this week and he absolutely loved it. He carries the book around with him wherever he goes now and is drawn into it. The story was lovely from start to finish, and the illustrations were bright and colourful and beautifully done. A charming little story about a little girl and her dog going on adventures.

I give it a 5/5 rating.
1 review
July 22, 2016
Gracie & MonkeyBear are awesome! The story is easy to read aloud - but it doesn't "talk down" to kids at all. The illustrations are fantastic. The storyline is empowering for girls and boys, especially those who like dogs. This is a book that will stay on our shelves for a long time and is already a favorite of my daughter's. More please!
37 reviews
July 27, 2016
The illustrations in this book are beautiful. The story is a little disjointed but that fits when you consider it is the story is little girl and her dog having backyard adventures. well done! I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway and look forward to sharing at library storytime.
Profile Image for Tammy Downing.
663 reviews5 followers
June 1, 2016
I received this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways. A really wonderful story about a young girl and her dog who go on many delightful adventures in her imagination. I loved the colorful pictures and her very vivid imagination.
Profile Image for Jennifer beck.
334 reviews113 followers
July 20, 2016
great kids book and I can't wait to give it to the child. LOVE IT!!!
7 reviews
April 20, 2017
This is great book. Sat down with my 4 year old son and he was enthrawled. The illustrations are amazing and each of the 3 stories are interesting and just long enough for childern. I can't wait for more installments.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 34 reviews

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