Book Review, Picture Books

Slow Down, Monkey! by Jess French & illustrated by Eefje Kuijl

Slow Down, Monkey! is an absolutely gorgeous new picture book about “stopping to smell the roses”. Sometimes we get so busy that life just passes us by. In this book, readers are encouraged to slow down, take their time and appreciate the world around them.

It’s Monkey’s birthday and she can’t wait for her party. She swings through the jungle checking on all of her plans. One by one, things start to go wrong and she worries it’s going to be the worst birthday ever. All of her friends want to help but they are running out of time. Then, Sloth steps in with an important message. Monkey soon realises that everything she needs is all around her. The jungle is beautiful and with her friends there, her party will be perfect.

This story has a lovely rhythm and flow, great for reading aloud. The language is fun with lots of alliteration, onomatopoeia and description. Teachers will find plenty of teaching points to pull out and explore further. Eefje Kuijl’s illustrations are bright and incredibly appealing. The fascinating rainforest creatures have large friendly eyes and draw the reader in with their pleasant faces. The lushness of the jungle fills the pages as the busy little monkey takes us on a journey of action and adventure.

All the characters in the story are based on real animals from the rainforest in Columbia, South America. The White-Bellied Spider Monkey, rainforest birds, Harlequin Poison Dart Frogs, a Spectacled Bear, a South American Tapir and a Brown Throated Sloth create a wonderful group of friends for children to get to know.  A double page spread at the end of the book is full of interesting facts to learn.

Sloth helps Monkey to relax and focus with the instructions “Look, Breathe, Listen and Feel”. The final page of the book encourages children to do the same with step-by-step instructions. Everyone will soon be feeling happier and more relaxed.

Thank you to Buster Books (Michael O’Mara Books) for this fantastically fun book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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