A few weeks ago I received a lot of new books at school that I have slowly been reading to the students and my own children. On the recommendation of A Year of Reading, I ordered Monkey With a Tool Belt and Monkey With a Tool Belt and the Noisy Problem. These two book by Chris Monroe have been such a story time hit. So, last night I packed up the books to share with my own children. Unfortunately my eight year old feels she has moved beyond my picture book sharing. She might decide to listen every once in a while, but mostly she has her eyeballs in her own book. But, Middle Sister and Little Sister enjoy the nighttime story routine a lot. I read the first book Monkey with a Tool Belt way before bedtime when Middle Sister needed some TLC to help her through her tummy ache. She didn't laugh hysterically like my kids at school, but she did seem to enjoy it. And when bedtime rolled around and I presented the other book she was all over it. So was Little Sister who asked for a third monkey book when I was done. I don't know what Chris Monroe has in mind, but I hope it is working on more of these books.
From the first page where the monkey, Chico Bon Bon is introduced the kids pay attention. They love saying his name. (One kindergarten class was lined up yesterday but couldn't leave the library because outbursts of "Chico Bon Bon" could be heard all over their line). It is a good thing Chico has a toolbelt, because he needs it. In the first book Chico is kidnapped by an organ grinder from a circus and has to find his way out of the box. And in the second book, he must find out what the loud noise in his treehouse is so he can repair it. Chico's toolbelt is no regular tool belt, either. He has such a wide assortment of tools on it, it is no wonder he can get himself out of some rather tricky situations. The kids also love the illustrations - colorful and a bit funny they so wanted to hold this book in their own hands so they could look at things up close. Imagine their annoyance when I told them I was reading this book to another class so they wouldn't be able to take it with them. These books are going to be the ones that the kids fight over, so I hope Monroe is working fast to provide me with some more Monkey with a Tool Belt books. Middle Sister and Little Sister both have a Monkey book in bed with them, having slept with it all night.