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Putting The Monkeys To Bed by Gennifer Choldenko

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


     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.

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?

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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Five Little Monkeys Trick-or-Treat by Eileen Christelow


Five Little Monkeys Trick-or-Treat by Eileen Christelow from Clarion
Five Little Monkeys Trick-or-Treat by Eileen Christelow
from Clarion Books.

Five Little Monkeys Trick-or-Treat  by Eileen Christelow (Clarion Books,  $16.99 Ages 2 and up) is reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

Halloween is here and the silly simians in Five Little Monkeys Trick-or-Treat sure like to monkey around! Mama Monkey sends her little troop out with Lulu, their favorite babysitter, and warns her, “Don’t lose the rascals!”  Along their trick-or-treat route, the monkeys meet up with their friends and decide to trick poor Lulu. Who is really behind the alien and goblin masks and underneath the banana, princess, and ghost costumes? Lulu is confused, but does Mama figure out her children’s monkey shines?!

With this installment, Eileen Christelow continues her popular Five Little Monkeys series. As a Halloween treat, three recipes—eyeball cookies, white chocolate frosting, and worm juice—are included. Full of spirit and art that fits the monkeys’ rascally natures just perfectly, this book is frightful fun.

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Kohl’s Cares and Curious George: Helping Kids

Kohl's Cares Cause Merchandise ProgramWho doesn’t love Margret & H.A. Rey’s CURIOUS GEORGE? Well now Kohl’s shoppers can get a bunch of CURIOUS GEORGE books, plushies, a backpack and note cards all for the fabulously low price of $5.00 each! This latest Kohl’s Cares merchandise program runs through the end of September and every purchase you make raises money for their philanthropic program. Did you know that since its inception in 2000, Kohl’s Cares has given more than $208 million towards children’s health and education initiatives across the country?

There are five books available to buy along with five coordinating stuffed animals. Why not get them all and contribute to this great cause?  You can keep some for the family and give others as gifts for birthdays or save until the holiday season. Adults can also pick up two cook books: Kids Treats full of tasty ideas and Taste of Home: The Busy Family Cookbook, certain to make mealtime more enjoyable and delicious.


Curious George’s First Day of School and Curious George plush

Curious George’s Dinosaur Discovery and Dinosaur plush

Curious George and the Puppies and Puppy plush

Curious George Visits the Zoo and Kangaroo plush

ONLINE EXCLUSIVE – Curious George Goes Camping and Moose plush

Curious George Backpack

Curious George Note Cards

See more pictures and get more details  by visiting the Kohl’s website here.

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One Noisy Monkey

BE QUIET, MIKE! ($14.99, Candlewick, ages 3-6), reviewed by Lindy Michaels, is  written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli.

What kid hasn’t blown on a kazoo, pretending it was a trumpet? What kid hasn’t let their fingers fly on a table top pretending it was a piano? Well, from the time Mike, the monkey, was in his momma monkey’s womb, he was drumming to his own beat. “Kick, thump, pow!” It was a very active pregnancy for momma monkey, to say the least. And once Mike was born “…He played with his fingers, he played with his feet, a funky little monkey, with a beat, beat, beat.”

As Mike grew bigger, there was nothing he came in contact with that didn’t become a… drum! Banging on a wastebasket, slapping the water in the pool, clanking on a trash can. And how was his creativity received by his family? “BE QUIET, MIKE!” But that didn’t stop this monkey as he grew older. “He played on the table like a wild baboon…” “BE QUIET, MIKE,” was what he heard day and night, over and over again. “Mike tried to be quiet, he tried to be still, but the beat in his heart, was stronger than his will.”

And then one day, he saw in the window of a music shop, “… a real live, full-sized jamming drum set” “… an ape with long fur, beating so fast – arms and legs a blur.”

Ah, the sheer ingenuity of little monkey Mike. He went home and used everything he could find in his house, like coffee cans and pots and pans and two sticks, to make his very own drum set. And then he started to beat his home-made drums. “Zat. Zoom. Crash!”

And just then his parents and sister opened the door to his bedroom. Oh, yes, Mike certainly knew what was coming. “BE QUIET, MIKE!”

But is that what happened? I adore books that encourage children to explore their bliss, even if it’s very, very loud! Leslie Patricelli, the talented author and illustrator of the popular YUMMY YUCKY, QUIET LOUD, TUBBY, THE BIRTHDAY BOX and other fun children’s books, has done it again, when it comes to engaging children on their own level. Now all you moms and dads, go and give your little ones some pots and pans and let them go to town. Oh, yeah, just don’t forget some cotton for your ears!

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Monkey Around With Lindy Michaels

IT’S A BOOK! (Roaring Brook Press, $12.99, ages 6 and up) written and illustrated by Lane Smith is reviewed today by the ever enthusiastic Lindy Michaels, of BookStar on Ventura Blvd.

9781596436060As the monkey is getting his literary enjoyment by reading the ink printed word on, yes, actual paper, the donkey (here stated by his ‘other name’), while playing his technological invention, looks up and seems perplexed. Next, comes a barrage of questions from the donkey.

“How do you scroll down?” Do you blog with it?” “Can it text?” “Tweet?’ “Wi-Fi?” And the computer-like questions go on and on and on.

“NO! IT’S A BOOK!!” the monkey repeatedly tells him, with much frustration.

This book is simply perfect, not to mention hysterically funny, for all of you out there who would rather turn a page than hit a key. And perhaps it will bring some insight to those who don’t understand the joy gotten from one of the greatest simple pleasures that can be gotten in this life. A wonderful lesson for youngin’s, also. I’m not saying all this new technology isn’t great, but, to me, there is nothing more wonderful than curling up on a comfy couch and reading a real book! It’s something that, I certainly hope, won’t ever go out of fashion. For goodness sake, IT’S A BOOK!!

Another of Lane Smith’s books that’s a must to check out is The Big Elephant in The Room. With great humor and truths, Mr. Smith has the unique ability to hit societal situations right on the head.

lindymichaelspicThe very versatile Lindy Michaels aims to inspire young minds through children’s literature. Lindy owned L.A.’s first children’s bookshop, OF BOOKS AND SUCH (1972-1987) where she did storytelling, taught drama to children, had art and poetry contests and the like. According to Lindy, “It was truly a ‘land of enchantment.” She also spent years lecturing on realism in children’s literature at colleges in the state. For close to five years Lindy has worked for Barnes and Noble (BookStar) in the children’s section and does storytelling every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. where we first met. I think she might even be more gaga over kids’ books than me, if that’s possible!

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