I've always liked Eileen Christelow's five little monkeys. We have a lap board book edition of Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, and we read it all the time. But Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed is extra fun, because in addition to featuring our mischievous young monkey friends, it celebrates the joy of books. What's not to love about that?
Our story begins with the five little monkeys, all ready for bed, begging for "one more story tonight!". When Mama is too tired, and closes the door, the monkeys decide to try reading on their own. But they keep getting caught when they are unable to contain their tears, screams, laughter, etc. (depending on the book), and Mama cries:
"Lights out! Sweet dreams!
No more reading in bed!"
And at the end of the book, who do you think the little monkeys catch reading in bed herself?
I like that Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed celebrates "happy, sad books", ghost stories and joke books. And I love how excited the monkeys get about the books. They are emotionally invested, and jumping up and down. This is conveyed seamlessly in both the text and the illustrations. I especially like how sly they are, as they scheme to read just one more book on their own (and yes, they use a flashlight to read the ghost story).
Like the other books in the series, Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed is fun to read aloud. My favorite part is when the Mama comes back in each time, saying: "What's all this racket? This chaos? This din?" Then she raises her eyebrow and says, "What was it I said?" That tone, I have down already. Also fun to read aloud are the ghost sound effects, and the squeals of joy when the happy/sad book turns out okay at the end.
Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed is a welcome addition to this popular series. It celebrates reading in an irrepressible manner, and is not the least bit preachy. Reading isn't something that the monkeys are supposed to do, or that's good for them. It's something that they want to do, want to do so much that they're willing to be disobedient, and stay up late reading under the covers. (Okay, the disobedience part is never too tough for the monkeys to convince themselves of, but still...). Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed is likely to stand as my favorite book in the series. Recommended for kids and parents.
Publisher: Clarion (@hmhbooks)
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.