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On Books

Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996.

Chico Bon Bon goes Hollywood

Chris Monroe at the Red Balloon Bookshop. Star Tribune file photo by Elizabeth Flores

Chico Bon Bon is a very resourceful monkey. He can fix anything that's broken, thanks to his handy ways and his extremely handy tool belt.

The creation of Duluth artist and cartoonist Chris Monroe, the always cheerful monkey has been the star of five picture books, all published by Lerner Publications of Minneapolis. With his squeegee and his ouija, his strainer and his grease container, his monkey wrench, his turkey wrench and his donkey wrench, he is johnny on the spot.

And now he is going to be the star of his own Netflix show.

It was announced Tuesday that Netflix has commissioned three new original animated series for children--and one of the three is "Chico Bon Bon: Monkey With a Tool Belt." The industry website kidscreen.com describes it as "a construction-themed comedy based on the picture book series of the same name by author Chris Monroe and published by Lerner. ... The show teaches preschoolers about the mechanical world and how things work."

Kids everywhere will soon be asking for their own turkey wrenches and donkey wrenches for their birthdays.

No date has yet been set for the launch.

Tracy K. Smith will headline this season's Talk of the Stacks

 U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith stands in a rotunda of the Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Mary Hudetz).

U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith stands in a rotunda of the Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Mary Hudetz).

Poet Tracy K. Smith will speak at the Friends of the Hennepin County Library's Talk of the Stacks this spring. Smith, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the current U.S. Poet Laureate, will speak at 7 p.m. May 16 at the Central Library on the Nicollet Mall. Her new book, "Wade in the Water," will be published in April by Graywolf Press.

The other Talk of the Stacks speakers include Star Tribune arts writer Alicia Eler, author of "The Selfie Generation," in conversation with Stephanie Glaros, blogger and author of "Humans of Minneapolis." Their discussion will be moderated by Stephanie Curtis of Minnesota Public Radio.

Their event will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 27.

And the third event will be at 7 p.m. April 24 when Alex Wagner, CBS News correspondent and author of "Futureface: A Family Mystery, an Epic Quest and the Secret to Belonging," discusses how her journey into her own ancestry reveals how America views race and immigration.

Talk of the Stacks events are free and open to the public. 

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