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Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Tree Monkeys

16 Dec

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday . It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I think it teaches a hard but very good lesson.

The Tree Monkeys
By Wynne Marshall
Illustrated by Cynthia G. Hale
36 pages – ages 6+
Published by Tate Publishing on August 23, 2011

Theme/Topic – Actions have consequences/Sharing

Opening and Synopsis – “Once upon a time, there was a small boy who lived in a small village tucked in a lush valley on the other side of the world.

Behind his home, there was a tall steep hill. On top of the hill, there was an old and mighty tree. His tree. No one else ever huffed and puffed his way up the daunting hill to even see the tree, so that made this tree, the boy’s tree.”

A selfish little boy finds monkeys in his tree and he doesn’t want to share HIS tree with them. The monkeys offered to share their picnic with the boy and wanted the boy to come and join in their fun, but the boy wanted the tree all to himself. The boy’s anger grew and grew as he watched the monkeys play and eat in the top of HIS tree. When a banana peel accidentally slipped down and fell right on the boy’s head the boy gets into a rage. Outraged, the boy decides that he will get the monkeys out of the tree once and for all by cutting down the tree. After he did, he was happy he won! They were gone…but so was his tree. He realizes that he was being the monster not the monkeys and he wants to take his actions back but he can’t. His tree is gone.

Activities and Resources – I think parents can use this book to talk to their children about behavior and consequences to their actions. Parents can ask their kids questions like; “How could the boy have handled the monkeys better?” “Why do you think the boy had a bad temper?”  “Why was he mean to the monkeys?” “What would you have done?” “How can the boy apologize to the monkeys?” There’s a cool activity against bullying that would also work for teaching consequences where you take a piece of paper and have your kids crumple it up and stomp on it then say “I’m sorry” to the and try to straighten it out, but the paper will never be the same. There’s many sites that explain this activity but here’s one from Bubble and Faith. There is also a similar activity where kids damage paper hearts and try to make it better but it’s never the same described on Kids Activities called “Sticks and Stones.”

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog “Just Right Books” HERE!

Why I like this book – I liked the meaning of the book. A lot of stories have happy endings but this book doesn’t and it really makes kids think about consequences to their actions. There are good lessons about sharing, controlling your temper, name calling and most importantly, sometimes you can’t “take back” what you do. Besides the serious parts of the book, it also had some very funny parts that made you laugh out loud (like when the banana peel hits the kid in the head). The illustrations are awesome and Mrs. Marshalls descriptive way she writes is really fun. For example, “This immediately led to an all-out explosion of merriment by all with unbridled howling accompanied by vigorous swinging and shaking of the branches and tossing of the fruit.” I recommend the book for a little older kids (6+) because there is name calling (the boy calls the monkeys “stupid” and tells them to “shut-up,” words we don’t use in our house), but I think that parents can use this to show kids how out of control the selfish little boy was and how bad his behavior is (and my mom told me she thought that at 6 years old most kids are hearing these words in school and parents could use the story to show their kids that they are not good words to use). Even though the book has a sad ending, it isn’t too sad. It leaves the boy thinking about what he has done and it’s a good place for parents to talk to their kids about the story.


I got to meet Mrs. Marshall at a book signing at the Quakertown Library in Quakertown PA. She is a local author from Bucks county PA. Mrs. Marshal first read her book to all of us kids (and adults) and Mrs. Marshall’s reading style really gave life to her book! After she read, she took questions from the audience and signed books ). She told us that she got the idea for the book, because, well, she just likes monkeys. She said she used to live in Central Africa and the tree in the book looks like the trees where she lived. The hut the boy lives in is also like the hut she lived in when she was in Africa. Mrs. Marshal said she had written a couple of books and had them on her computer but she was always afraid of sending them into a publisher because she was afraid of getting rejected. Then Mrs. Marshall got cancer and she survived it. That changed her thinking. She thought if she could survive cancer why did she have to worry about getting rejected? So she sent it in and it got accepted! Mrs. Marshall is a very fun person, she lives on a farm, flies planes, scuba-dives and has an awesome pen collection and she used a different silly pen for every book she signed 🙂 !

When I asked her why she had a sad ending in her book she told me that she thought it was important for kids to learn that sometimes you can’t fix what you have done and you really need to think about what you do. I also think that’s a great message!

You can learn more about Mrs. Marshall and her book HERE!

#6 – JUST IN – I Get My First News Paper Column!

3 Jan

I am getting my New Year off to a great start! I am really excited to tell you that I got a monthly column in a local news paper! Sorry I waited to tell you, but I wanted it to be published online before saying anything AND it was just published!! I met Michelle Buono, the Content Coordinator of the Upper Bucks Free Press, at a book signing I went to and she asked to talk with me after I got done interviewing the author (Wynne Marshall author of The Tree Monkeys) that the book signing was for. I was kind of nervous to talk to Ms. Buono, but she was really nice and said that I “impressed” her with my interview and she asked me to submit something to her newspaper! Then, after Ms. Buono talked to her editor, they asked me to send in an article every month! I decided that I should submit my interview with Mrs. Marshall as my first article because she is a local author and I think I will try to write about local authors and book events for the paper (unless there is some huge event going on). You can see my very first article at the Upper Bucks Free Press website by clicking HERE (it’s the January 2012 issue -page 16 and there is a write-up about me being a new contributor on page 15 😉 ).

Thanks for letting me share AND for taking the time to read my blog! Now I’m going to bed 😉 Zzzz

Perfect Picture Book Friday – That Pup!

23 Dec

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday . It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it’s a nice story with great illustrations.

That Pup!
Written and Illustrated by  Lindsay Barrett George
32 pages – ages 2+
 Published by  HarperCollins Publishers  on August 23, 2011

Theme/Topic – Friendship / Forgiveness

Opening and Synopsis – “What is that pup up to? That pup digs. And digs. And digs some more. What is that pup looking for? And why should this squirrel care?” (from the inside jacket cover).

A young pup decides to play a game and digs up ten acorns. What the little pup didn’t realize is that the acorns were hidden by a little squirrel who was storing them for winter. The little pup hurts the squirrel’s feelings even though she didn’t mean to. The little pup has a great idea to play a new game…HIDE the acorns and she asked the little squirrel to help. Together they put all the acorns back.

Activities and Resources – There are some good questions parents could ask their kids about this book like; Did the pup mean to hurt the squirrels feelings? How do you think the squirrel feel? or What should you do if you hurt someone’s feelings? I think a great activity parents could do with their kids is a scavenger hunt like the pup did in the book (who doesn’t like those?!?). Here’s a cool blog post from Go Explore Nature about a winter scavenger hunt (click HERE) and another about a holiday scavenger hunt (click HERE).

Why I liked this book – Last week I posted a book called The Tree Monkeys by Wynne Marshall (see the post HERE) and it taught a lesson that sometimes actions we do can’t be taken back or in other words somethings can’t be fixed. Well this book shows that some things can be made right if you try to make them right. I thought the book had a good story for little kids and showed them how the pup and squirrel become friends even after the pup digs up all the squirrel’s acorns. The illustrations in the book are great (the pup is adorable)! There are few words on each page so it can be read by kids just starting to read.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog “Just Right Books” HERE!

To learn more about Ms. Barrett George and her books (she has a lot of really good ones!) please visit her website by clicking HERE

**BONUS** (again 😉 )

I met Ms. Barrett George at my school when she visited to talk about writing books. When I emailed her to tell her I was nominating her book as a Perfect Picture Book, she generously offered to donate an illustration from “That Pup!” to one lucky commenter! All you have to do is comment and you’re in! I will pick (actually my sister Josie does the picking) one name from all the comments for this post (the illustration hasn’t come in the mail yet, when it does I will post a picture 🙂 ) and post the winner on December 30th!

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