I know that Eileen Christelow has written quite a few books about the Five Little Monkeys. However, it had been a while since I read one when Clarion sent me Five Little Monkeys Go Shopping. Although it's technically about back-to-school shopping, I thought that it was worth mentioning now, since there are plenty of little monkeys out there doing holiday shopping.
In this installment, the five little monkeys go with their long-suffering mother to a big department store to buy school clothes. The monkeys keep wandering off in ones, twos, and threes. Every time their mother goes off to search for the missing, she orders the others to "STAY RIGHT HERE, AND DON'T GO WANDERING OFF". Of course they don't. Eventually, some of their friends start showing up, too. The mother keeps hoping to find herself with five little monkeys, but the saleswoman keeps pointing out that there are four, or seven, or whatever the number. This leads to cute little math problems, while they figure out how many monkeys are missing. Like:
7 little monkeys
- 3 friends
= 4 of MY little monkeys
This is an excellent way to make math fun for preschoolers. The math is always on the next page after someone arrives or wanders off, so kids can think ahead to what the number is going to be, and then see it confirmed when they turn the page.
I think that preschoolers will enjoy watching the monkeys wander around the store picking up silly hats and sunglasses. They also ride escalators, and try on clothing, and drift in the direction of the toy department. They are in constant motion. Their mother alternates between calm and panic. My favorite illustration is the one that corresponds to the math problem above, which shows the mother with crossed eyes and her hands up to her face in dismay.
All in all, I think this book offers a fun introduction to simple addition and subtraction problems, in an engaging and colorful package. It's worth keeping in mind for the next round of back to school shopping, especially for large families.
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.