Humans usually see themselves as dominating the animal kingdom. Unless faced with a large or particularly vicious predator concern over how an animal’s behavior affects our own safety is not given much thought. Until you see the stark face of the monkey staring back at you from the cover of Never Smile at a Monkey. When you see it you know this isn’t an ordinary book for kids. This book takes the reader on a journey through the animal kingdom unlike anything they have been through before.
The author and illustrator, Steve Jenkins, focuses on 18 animals and their potentially deadly behavior. Some of the animals in the book seem rather benign until you hear what they are capable of doing to the unsuspecting human. But, there is good news. The book also informs its readers of the exact behavior to avoid to safely co-existing with these animals.
The fun of this book is that the information is all true. No made up horror or gore, the book simply casts light on some of the animal kingdoms lesser known predators. With so many books and television shows emphasizing wilderness survival skills this book delivers quality information in a child size.
Not only is the information fascinating but the illustrations are captivating. Cut paper illustrations reminiscent of Eric Carle will have the reader staring at the page long after the text has been read. Few other children’s books pair such lush illustrations with non-fiction text.
Never Smile at a Monkey can interest even the reluctant reader. Targeted at children ages 4-8 years old this non-fiction book is easy enough for early readers to read on their own. New vocabulary will be introduced and new interest in reading may be initiated. Fans of this book will want to check out other titles by Steve Jenkins that have similar animal themes.
Never Smile at a Monkey is a fabulous book to read for group story times. The room will be filled with both curiosity and awe as each animal’s unique behavior is highlighted and tips for your own safety are provided. This book is a must-read and a great addition to any school or home library.