Monkey & Spoon

By Simone Lia
112 pages, blue and white
Published by AdHouse Books

“Can a MONKEY love a SPOON? …and visa versa?” That’s the back cover text to Simone Lia’s Monkey & Spoon, her graphic novel from AdHouse Books. It’s a question that really begs another one, though: how on Earth can anyone resist buying something with that tagline?

Jacko is a monkey, living with the beautiful spoon maiden Isabelle. All is not well in the house of monkey and spoon, though. They’ve got a festering arguement that’s just hanging over the dinner table, and before things can get better, they’re almost certainly going to get worse.

Lia’s story, despite being 112 pages in long, is a pretty short one. It doesn’t so much move as it flies by, but it wasn’t until reading it a second time that I began to get a real appreciation for what she’s written here. On the surface it’s about a couple having a brief fight and then making up, but the emotional core is what really grabs me in Monkey & Spoon. To me, Monkey & Spoon is about how a couple can truly become a single unit, only to fall apart (both figuratively and literally here) when conflict separates them. It’s not a terribly deep idea, but the way that Lia presents it is really charming. There’s a level of innocence that permiates the book, even during Isabelle and Jacko’s fight. Maybe it’s because there’s an almost instant shift from conflict to comfort here; when Jacko is suddenly in need of help, Isabelle’s able to drop all of her problems to come to his assistance. Now that’s love.

The art for Monkey & Spoon is just as adorable as the story. Lia uses simplistic character designs for the book, from Jacko’s wide eyes and big ears to Isabelle’s single-line curly hair. In some ways it reminds me a lot of a child’s drawings, something that certainly helps contribute to the innocent atmosphere of Monkey & Spoon. A lot also has to be said for Lia’s art being printed in a light blue ink; it gives the book a softer look, relaxing the reader’s mind and letting them ready for whatever Lia presents. When you’ve got one of your two characters being a spoon hopping around the kitchen, well, that’s almost a must.

Monkey & Spoon is short, but it’s also sweet. I love the visual look of the book, and the emotions that are tied up into the book make Lia’s book a real winner. Like Scott Morse’s Southpaw (which shares Monkey & Spoon‘s colored-ink, 6×6″ format), it’s the kind of book I like to just let sit around the house, ready to be picked up an re-read at a moment’s notice. Every time I read this book, it just brings a big smile to my face.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

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