Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Read-4-Luck (PPBF): Little Red Monkey

If you missed the most recent Story Elements post, which focuses on the top ten elements of picture book writing, you can still read Monday's post about Story Element #3: Plot

READ-4-LUCK acts as a book recommendation, book review, teaching tip, and writing lesson for children, parents, teachers, and writers. This fun weekly feature began back in October 2010 with four books. It has since evolved into one book each week. In November 2011, I joined up with Susanna Leonard Hill and her Perfect Picture Book Fridays (PPBF).  

 = Not bad. Might read twice.
 = Fun read first few times. Would get from library again.
 = Very enjoyable. Wouldn't mind owning a copy.
 = Awesome! Multiple readings are never tiresome. May just have to buy it.

This week's Read-4-Luck pick is Little Red Monkey by Jonathan London and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. 
A story of a monkey who has lost his way. Does he belong in a circus, a zoo, or the wild? Follow his fast-paced humorous adventures to see where the dancing monkey ends up. Opening page says: "This is the story of Little Red Monkey, who was born in the jungle, captured when he was very young, and later performed in the circus."

Publisher: Dutton
Year: 1997
Word Count: 366
Book Level: 2.7?
Age: 4-8
Topic: monkeys, zoo, circus, jungles, dancing 
Theme: finding yourself, belonging

First Lines:
Little Red Monkey was feelin' kinda funky. 
He liked to dance in his underpants.
He liked to dance on a zebra's back
with his cape really flyin' all shiny and black


The best part? You guessed it! "He liked to dance in his underpants!" That gets laughs out loud every time! I bet they would enjoy dancing in their underpants, with YOU!

I actually found myself choosing this book over and over again from our library stack (gasp! before I chose the others that haven't been read yet - it's that fun!) before the children had a chance to choose a different book. They never did oppose.

Use in an animal unit. Mentions tigers, camels, zebras, lions, dogs, cats, mammals, and of course monkeys! Could integrate with a language arts lesson on fiction vs. nonfiction, plot, beginnings and endings, or characters and settings. Best suited for K-2.

Oh, the rhyme, the rhythm, the time, the smith him! Okay, so I have a little forced rhyme there. Seriously, this book is excellent for all you rhymers! The reading is fast-paced and high energy. Definitely a read aloud. I read it four times already and it seems like I caught something new in the story that I missed in the previous reading. For kicks, choose a farm animal and write a story using the same meter here. Not for publication, mind you, but I guarantee you'll put your skills to the test and come out stronger for rising to the challenge.

Which farm animal would you choose? I think I'd choose a pig because it seems like a fun one. 

Be sure to visit other "perfect picture books" at Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.

Keep on keepin' on...


  1. Cool! I should have linked to this yesterday :)

  2. This is one my kids would have adored when they were little. The silliness and the bright illustrations. Barnyard Dance...we read thousands of times.

  3. Underpants gets a thumbs up every time! Sounds fun!

  4. What is it about underpants? Love a PB with good rhythm.

  5. There's just something about monkeys...always a fun read! Thanks for the recommendation, Christie!

  6. You said it, UNDERPANTS! That is sure to get a laugh.

  7. WOW! This looks like an awesome book!

  8. Underpants are always a crowd pleaser. Boys that's a tight word count too. We'll check it out.

  9. What fun! Kids will definitely love the dance in the underpants line. :)
    Thanks for the activities, Christie!

  10. Sounds like its full of fun, kids will love it. No wonder they pick it over others they haven't read Great choice Christie.


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