Sunday, March 2, 2008

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett

Gravett, Emily. 2008. Monkey and Me. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 1416954570.

Emily Gravett’s newest book, Monkey and Me, is sure to be as big a hit with kids (and adults) as her previous books have been. (She’s the author of the following books: Wolves; Orange Pear Apple Bear; Meerkat Mail; and Little Mouse’s Big Book Of Fears.) Monkey and Me releases in March 2008.

Monkey and Me is fun. Pure and simple, it’s just fun. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s the story of a girl, a young girl with two pigtails, and her stuffed monkey. (A fun pairing for any picture book in my humble opinion. Then again, I am the proud owner of three stuffed monkeys of my own.) These two friends are playing together. (Monkeys ALWAYS like to play.)

This book has everything that’s needed for a successful picture book: repetitive text, rhythmic text, fun premise, interactive opportunities, and charming illustrations. The refrain of the book—the pattern the story follows—is simple:

Monkey and me,
Monkey and me,
Monkey and me,
We went to see,

We went to see some . . .

The next two-page spread will reveal what the two went to see. What you might not notice at the very beginning is that the illustrations give subtle and some not-so-subtle hints about what the two went to see.

That is what I meant by “interactive opportunities.” Not only do children get to join in the what will soon be familiar refrain, they also get to participate by guessing what animals the two are going to see next. And, as if that isn’t enough, kids are sure to want to participate by acting out the animals movements just like the girl and her monkey. (Who doesn’t like pretending to be an elephant, a kangaroo, a monkey, a penguin, etc.)

Simply stated, I loved Monkey and Me. And I think you will LOVE it too.

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