Toddler Reading List – Monkeys

Every Friday morning I read stories and sing songs to toddlers at Cover to Cover, the local bookstore. Because my son has been quite a monkey recently, I thought we’d have a monkey theme this week.

Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett. This is a beautifully illustrated book by an award winning author illustrator. It’s also the first book that my son really loved. A little girl takes her toy monkey on a day out to the zoo, where they learn to walk like the animals.

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. A classic story about a hardworking peddlar who has to play monkey see monkey do to get his caps back from a tree full of monkeys. It’s really fun to read, pretending to balance caps on your head and stanping feet and shaking fists at the monkeys.

Where’s my Mom by Julia Donaldson. Baby monkey can’t find his Mum, but there’s a friendly butterfly who wants to help him. Unfortunately the butterfly doesn’t have any experience of babies who look like their parents which leads to several pages of misunderstandings. So we get to shout, No No No…that’s an elephant! (or a bat or a spider or a snake or a frog or a parrot). Donaldson’s rhymes bounce along just as you would expect and Axel Scheffler’s illustrations are colorful and friendly.

The Escape of Marvin the Ape by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner. Marvin the gorilla escapes from the zoo and is completely at home in the urban jungle of New York City. The cops are after him (you can see them in every picture) but he manages to give them the slip. The best thing about this book are the incredible illustrations which we never get tired of exploring. There is always something fun to look for, whether it’s the shapes in the clouds, a message in a bottle, a renegade ostrich or a sneaky cat. This one comes highly recommended.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees. Although this book is not entirely about monkeys, it does feature eight babboons who team up for a splendid scottish reel. This is a great little parable about how cool it is to be different and to dance to your own tune. Gerald the Giraffe thinks he’s too clumsy to dance and when he gets teased by the other animals, it makes him very sad. Luckily there’s a cricket with a violin who knows a lot about music.

We will be playing Monkey See Monkey Do, singing Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed, Animal Fair and If You’re Happy and You Know It and we’ll read some of Giles Andreae’s poems about the Gorilla and the Chimpanzee.

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