Never Smile at a Monkey by Steve Jenkins
Published in 2009 Lexile 920
I had a hard time choosing a nonfiction book by Steve Jenkins. He's written over 30 children's books with colorful artwork and interesting facts about animals and their habits. He was born in North Carolina but now resides in Colorado. Steve has won many awards for his books including the Caldecott Award for the book "What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?"
There are differing opinions about the target audience for this book. Some reviewers felt that this book was not suitable for younger children because it talks about death or being killed. In my opinion, that's a good discussion point to have with children. The students in my 3rd through 5th grade classes were very engaged and animated in it as a read aloud. The format is different telling the reader what they should never do and what may happen if they do, for instance, to "never pet a platypus" and warning that if they do they may be stung by the animal's hind legs.
Reasons to read Never Smile at a Monkey:
- Interesting animal facts
- Fantastic illustrations
- Good jumping off point for doing research or nonfiction writing
- Teaches a respect for animals
Here's the link to the author's blog which tells how he gets his ideas for his books and a short video showing how his collaborator and wife develops the illustrations made from cut paper. Steve Jenkins