Friday Favorite: Emily Gravett

Monkey_MeI was planning to do a follow up post today about more great kid’s albums (because, let’s face it, there are WAY more than ten…) but life happens. Your partner goes out of town on business. Your kids go crazy and act up, sensing your weakness. You have an interview for the job of your dreams. You have dealt with so many time-outs, temper-tantrums, spilled milk, and normally well-rested kids refusing to take naps or sleep well during the night that, well…Enough said.

So while I’m listening to albums, drinking wine, and (let’s face it, watching Arrested Development when I should be blogging) thinking about it, I’d like to feature another outstanding British author/illustrator Emily Gravett. I think it was her “Monkey and Me” book that initially drew me in. If you read my last post, you know I have a weakness for adorable monkey books.

Monkey and Me stars an active little girl and her beloved monkey introducing readers to a variety of animals by first acting like the animal, then showing the animal in action:

“Monkey and me, Monkey and me, Monkey and me, We went to see, We went to see some…Elephants!”
“Monkey and me, Monkey and me, Monkey and me, We went to see, We went to see some…Kangaroos!”

This book features a repeating narrative with large, eye-catching illustrations which makes it a great read-aloud for story time. I always make it interactive, having the audience say “Monkey and me”, clapping or tapping in rhythm, then guess what animal is coming next. Finally, on the last page the miniature narrator and her monkey are so tired they can only finish their line with ZZZZZZZ’s. (I can relate).

Another lovely book is Blue Chameleon, a story about a sad, lonely chameleon trying to make friends with various things (ball, sock, fish, snail, etc.) until he finally meets another colorful chameleon companion, resulting in a happy ending. Colored pencil illustrations are simple but lively; there is a quiet humor in the narrative as the chameleon physically imitates each object or animal and tries (but fails) to befriend it using common language such as “Howdy” (to a cowboy boot) or “Can I hang with you?” (to a striped sock hanging on a clothesline).

One of Gravett’s first picture books, Orange Pear Apple Bear is a fun story about a bear and his antics with some fruit–exploring concepts of color and shapes using only five words (very impressive!). Its simple illustrations and great rhyming is perfect for age two and up. For ideas about using this book in a variety of ways, look here.

Do you have a favorite Emily Gravett book? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

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