November 27, 2009

Children's Book: The Laceyville Monkeys Say the Right Words by Harriet Ruderman

BOOK #: 79
REASON READ: I'm a pre-k teacher who loves to read books to my students; I was approached by Bostick Communications to review this book.
PUBLISHER: Illusion Press, LLC
GENRE: Children's Picture Book, Fiction, Reading level ages 4-8
FORMAT/PAGES: Hardcover/32
RATING: 5 Stars

Three little monkeys
came to Laceyville Town
in just the right month
for a night that's renown.

The Big Talent Contest
was coming up soon.
All animals performed
on the eve of full moon.

THE STORY: Ms. Hepzibah Mott brings her three monkeys, Eva, Sheva, and Keva, to Laceyville for a talent contest. They show off their skills to Granny the day before the competition. Granny gets greedy and sneaks them off to the talent show without letting Hepzibah know. She tries to make the monkeys perform, but they won't because she has not said the right words. Granny is embarrassed and the crowd begins laughing, but luckily Hepzibah rushes in to "save the big night." She says the magic words:

"Dance and Sing
Tumble and Roll.
Do it with Love
Let your magic unfold."

The monkeys perform their amazing acts, much to the crowd's delight. Hepzibah then teaches Granny and readers the lesson that if you speak kind words to others, your words can unlock magic.

MY OPINION: This book is a cute way of showing young children how you can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. The illustrations were simple, but cute. The expressions on the faces of both the humans and the monkeys were clear and some of the other animals in the show were silly and made the kids laugh and smile. I especially enjoyed Granny's spectacles, broach, shawl, upswept hair, and kind face. Her face showed that she was not a mean person, but had simply underestimated the value of kindness. I liked that it was an older person who was being taught a lesson and not just a child. It shows that we all can learn at any age.

THE REAL TEST: I read and liked the book on my own, but the true test is always to read it to a group of children. So I took it to school and read it to my classroom of fifteen four- and five-year-olds. The verdict? They loved it. They wanted to read it again, and with my particular group, that is saying a lot. They don't care much for re-reading books. After reading the book, we discussed what we liked about the book, what the lesson was, and then I created a group exercise by having the children take turns speaking words of kindness to their friends. "I like Ben because he plays with me." "I like Estefani because she doesn't hit me." Obviously, some children said because so-and-so has cool shoes or nice hair, but they still got the message of saying nice things to each other and were able to hear what their friends liked, too.

What You Can Do With This Book:
  • Teach children kindness gets you father than words of hate or bullying.
  • It is important for children to be kind, but also important for adults.
  • On the second or third reading, once they understand the point of the story, you can have the child chime in on the rhyming words. The monkeys' names are also rhyming words.
  • Read with the correct rhythm, children understand how poetry is sometimes spoken and read differently than prose.
  • Have children create their own talent show. Have them use the "right words" from the story in order for the participants to perform, or have them create their own.
Thanks to Harriett Ruderman and Bostick Communications for this book!

Other Reviews/Opinions on this Book:

The Reading Path
The Hungry Readers
Books and Needlepoint

If you have read an reviewed this book and I missed it, please leave a comment and I will add your review to this post!

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a sweet book. I am always on the lookout for books for my 5-year-old. :-)


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