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Putting The Monkeys To Bed by Gennifer Choldenko

PUTTING THE MONKEYS TO BED
Written by Gennifer Choldenko
Illustrated by Jack E. Davis
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons; $16.99, Ages 3-5)

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     If you thought getting your children to go to sleep wasn’t difficult enough, try your hand at Putting The Monkeys to Bed. This new picture book by popular children’s author, Gennifer Choldenko, is a whimsical tale of nighttime shenanigans started by young Sam’s active imagination and perpetuated by a trio of plush merry-making monkeys.

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Interior artwork from Putting The Monkeys to Bed by Gennifer Choldenko with illustrations by Jack E. Davis, G.P. Putnam’s Sons. ©2015.

     As is often the case with so many little ones, going to bed can be a chore when there’s still so much to think about:

Do pirates sleep with their eye patches on?

Do fish go to bed in their bathing suits?

Where do baseball players sleep at night?

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Interior artwork from Putting The Monkeys to Bed by Gennifer Choldenko with illustrations by Jack E. Davis, G.P. Putnam’s Sons. ©2015.

… and so much fun still to be had. But when the day begins to catch up with him, and Sam is ready to call it a night, it seems the simians can’t switch off. Even calm inducing in and out breathing turns into ping pong singing for the primate pals eager to play the night away. Davis’s light-hearted illustrations capture the antics of the monkeys as they try everything in their power to keep Sam awake, my favorite being the one where the monkeys mimic the ubiquitous Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil, See No Evil statues. Eventually though, the monkeys succumb to some serious snuggling and a bedtime story read in a whisper by the weary Sam as “Arms cuddle close. Covers nestle round. Heavy heads sink into soft pillows.”

     Parents, if you and your kids are still awake after this wonderful wind down, check out the humorous author’s note at the end with answers to Sam’s questions posed above. I also recommend going back through each spread to enjoy all the details Davis has included. Then, if yawns and heavy eyelids are still not evident, you can always try singing a lullaby, but somehow I think that won’t be necessary. Look for satisfied smiles all around as little ones drift off to dreamland when you share Choldenko’s Putting The Monkeys to Bed tonight.

– Reviewed by Ronna Mandel

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Toys Galore by Peter Stein with illustrations by Bob Staake

Let your imagination soar …

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Toys Galore written by Peter Stein with illustrations by Bob Staake,
Candlewick Press, © 2013.

… as you read Toys Galore (Candlewick Press, $15.99, Ages 4-8) written by Peter Stein with illustrations by Bob Staake, and reviewed by MaryAnne Locher.

Bob Staake’s vividly colored illustrations and Peter Stein’s whimsical verse are reminiscent of a carousel with calliope music. One ride is not enough!

After reading this picture book, I found myself wanting to go back again for a closer look at all the marvelous pictures. Parents and children will find inspiration for making their own fun and making up their own stories about this book’s wild and whacky toys. Yes, Toys Galore is a certainly a catalyst for creativity – sock puppets, cardboard box robots anyone?

Best of all, Toys Galore will entertain children independently as they memorize the pages, allowing parents to ultimately be on the receiving end of some delightful “read alouds” from their pre- to beginning readers.

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Interior spread from Toys Galore by Peter Stein with illustrations by Bob Staake, Candlewick Press, @ 2013.

Warning! This wonderful picture book will wake them up, shake them up, and get their juices flowing. I highly recommend reading it again and again … but not at bedtime.

NOTE:  If you loved Bugs Galore and also Cars Galore, you’re going to want to add this to your collection.

 

 

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