Rachel can't imagine why Bucky Greene, a scientist friend of her father's who's developing genetically engineered bananas, would show up at their New York City apartment in the middle of the night to leave a baby chimpanzee with them for a week -- or why they absolutely, positively can't tell anyone about it. What could possibly be "top secret" about an adorable chimp like Friday?
Rachel hasn't a clue, but when Friday turns out to be really, inexplicably intelligent (Rubik's Cube's a snap) -- and Bucky Greene turns up really, inexplicably dead (he slipped on his own banana peel) -- she suspects serious monkey business afoot. And when chimp-nappers step into the picture, getting to the bottom of Friday's "top secret" before it's too late becomes a delightfully madcap mystery -- with Rachel in a riotous, nonstop race for survival of the fittest.
Written by four-time Emmy-nominated writer and acclaimed humorist Hester Mundis, who raised a chimp of her own in her Manhattan apartment, this is a wonderfully funny -- and heartfelt -- novel about endangered species, corporate espionage, and going bananas in more ways than one.
Inspired by a chimpanzee raised by the author in a Manhattan apartment, this diverting if outlandish story centers on a baby chimp who comes to live with sixth-grader Rachel Stelson's New York family. Not long after fidgety scientist Bucky Greene furtively drops off Friday in the middle of the night, and begs them to keep him for a week and to say nothing, Greene is reported dead. Rachel soon realizes that someone knows Friday is residing with the Stelsons and wants to get hold of the chimp. Mundis, a comedy writer, is at her best with descriptions of the chimp: Friday turns out to be prodigiously gifted. He quickly learns to play solitaire on the computer, solve Rubik's Cube and dial the phone. And he causes merry mayhem in the school gym and at a toy store on several occasions when Rachel sneaks him out of the apartment in her backpack. The plot grows goofier, linking Friday's intelligence to genetically engineered bananas and Greene's death to the evil motives of his bosses at the Bio-Allmeans research lab. Balancing the effective humor, a wistful undercurrent Rachel's mother died three years earlier fans into a bittersweet conclusion. A good choice for animal lovers. Ages 8-12.