He’s no Curious George and she’s not The Man With The Yellow Hat, but Yasmin Nakhuda has put her Darling Darwin - better known as the Ikea monkey - into a children’s book just the same.
Nakhuda, a Scarborough resident and real estate lawyer, launches her book, Adventures of Darling Darwin: Monkey Mess, this Saturday, April 6, hoping the proceeds will sustain her legal battle to get Darwin back.
The famous macaque is at Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary north of Toronto, having been taken there by employees of the city’s Animal Services last December after he escaped Nakhuda’s car in a North York Ikea parking lot while wearing a miniature shearling coat.
The cover of Darling Darwin: Monkey Mess recreates the fascination of bystanders during Darwin’s moments of freedom, which became a sensation on the internet. In Danny Moore’s illustrations the store’s name is rearranged to spell “Aeki.”
Nakhuda is launching the book at a $75-a-plate dinner and dance party for supporters of her non-profit company, Darling Darwin Monkey and Friends, at a Mississauga dining hall.
A trial on over her disputed ownership of Darwin, an infant monkey given to Nakhuda last year that became her constant companion for six months, is set to resume in May.
Though she couldn’t convince authorities to return the monkey to her during the trial, a release from Nakhuda’s Washington, D.C.-area publishing company, Mascot Books, said she’s not ready to give up the fight for Darwin, and proceeds from sales of the book will go to DDM and F to help pay the costs.
“Our legal battle to get him back has been emotionally, physically and financially highly taxing. Writing about Darwin and creating a fantasy world where I can imagine him being his usual happy mischievous self is therapeutic,” the release said.
The book, an opportunity to “learn more about Darwin and the Monkey Mess that he finds himself in” is said to be “the first in a 12-book series,” which would be five more books than the original Curious George series created by Hans Augusto and Margret Rey.
Nakhuda, however, said last Thursday she’d like to think her mischievous monkey “is better than Curious George. Everyone can relate to Darwin as he is living and not an imaginary character. He won the hearts of many.”
The intention of the first Darling Darwin book “is to follow him from where he got lost, through Animal Services and to the Sanctuary where he meets other monkeys,” she said.
“It will be mostly fictitious but promises to be a lot of fun.”
Owning a monkey in Toronto isn’t legal. Nakhuda, who describes herself as being a mother to Darwin, said she’ll remain in Scarborough until she regains custody of the monkey.
She and her human family may then move to the City of Kawartha Lakes unless, she added, that municipality has amended its bylaws to prevent monkey ownership. In the meantime, Nakhuda is urging people to attend Friday’s “Monkey Party” or buy the book (www.darlingdarwinmonkey.com).
“It’s time to dry the tears, hold hands and gather strength,” she wrote recently on her Facebook page, Darling Darwin Monkey.