Monty’s Magnificent Mane

7009463__86814.1372309894.1280.1280I make no bones about the fact I loved Gemma O’Neill‘s debut picture book, Oh Dear, Geoffrey!

And I don’t mind saying I was a little intrepid about her follow up. Would it be as good as Geoffrey? Surely she couldn’t surpass her first stonkingly good story? But she’s only jolly well gone and done it!


Instantly recognisable by O’Neill’s signature style, Monty is a splendiferous character, with an equally splendiferous mane. The meerkats tell Monty how wonderful his mane is and Monty loves to hear this. (Not that he’s vain or anything!!)


Monty allows the meerkats to play in his flowing golden locks. Until they start to annoy him and he gets fed up with them making a mess of his magnificent mop of hair. He shakes off the pesky meerkats but ends up in the mud. His once flowing orange mane is now a matted, muddy mess.



There’s only one thing for it. Off to the waterhole to gaze at his reflection and check on his manly mane. Whilst staring at himself, he is complimented on his shock of hair and the creature asks Monty to get closer so it can take a look. Monty willingly does so and soon his vanity gets him into trouble. Out jumps a menacing croc and “Chomp”, takes a chunk out of Monty’s mane.


What will Monty do? The croc chases him home to eat him and his friends? But Monty opens his jaws and gives the most magnificent “Roar”. The croc is terrified and scuttles quickly back to the river.

The meerkats point out Monty’s ruined mane, but Monty soon realises that it isn’t important and he loves his mane just the way it is. A perfect playground for his friends!

You can’t help but love this story and Gemma’s unique illustration style and varied techniques really come to the fore in her wonderful spreads. If you haven’t read ‘Oh dear, Geoffrey’ do and if you like Geoffrey, you’ll love Monty too.

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