Ceridwen both alerted me to this book and said what it so brilliantly does
There are many things that can drive me crazy about the stories pitched at children, and perhaps Horrible Thing About Kids' Stories #2 is "The Lazy Deployment of Arbitrary and Tediously Familiar Narrative Conflicts." (This is closely related to Horrible Thing About Kids' Stories #1, which is "The Finger-Wagging Good-For-You Moral Lesson Imparted By The Tale.") In movies, #2 is often a dead parent--surely a bad thing, and surely productive of some good stories. But often simply LDoAaTFNC. There is so much to love about Milgrim's book, much of it laid out in Ceridwen's review, but I'll emphasize what Max and I dig: stuff just happens. It's fun, there is a kind of conflict (but, meh, it's just something to work on, and not particularly alarming), but plot is a McGuffin. What is fun about stories is they can go anywhere, and it is fun to follow along, and who gives a damn where they end up?
PS We're also suckers for monkeys. They are perhaps Thing Guaranteed to Make a Kids' Story At Least 5 Times Better #37.