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Acclaimed children's author Julia Donaldson is perhaps best known for her hugely popular illustrated story "The Gruffalo", which seems to have captured the imagination of a whole generation of kids, and even got its own Christmas day reading on the BBC last year.
But, in our household, there's another book of hers that has a special place in the heart of our very own little monkey.
Night Monkey Day Monkey - With its striking orange cover and hard board design, it has long occupied pride of place on little man's book shelf.
It tells the story of the coming together of two monkeys who share the same jungle but operate in completely different worlds. The story begins as Night Monkey clambers up the tree and wakes up a rather disgruntled and groggy Day Monkey, whisking him away on a night time journey to the stars.
Just like the Gruffalo, the magic is in the rhyme on every line.
The words trip effortlessly off the tongue right from the evocative opening sentence. "The moon shone down on the jungle, night monkey climbed up the tree, she clambered and leapt, to where day monkey slept and whispered you can't catch me..."
Believe me, I'm no great connoisseur of poetic construction, but I really enjoy reading out the lines, so cleverly constructed and carefully blended together.
Plus in true boy's own tradition, there's always the opportunity to substitute in a few cheeky amendments to the original words for maximum comic effect - Night Trumpy , Day Trumpy - it's a sure fire winner!
In the ensuing adventures, a whole variety of mind-blowing discoveries leave poor old day monkey, utterly bemused. He figures there is a giant banana up in the sky, that there are flying rats, that they are chopping up the trees into logs. To restore the balance, Night Monkey then gets a taste of her own medicine the next day.- I'll let you discover them for yourselves.
The great thing is that after a few readings, you can simply say the start of the verse and your little one will happily repeat it "Night monkey laughed and said." .... "Don't be daft!" delivered back with chuckles every time.
In the end they find a way to build a bridge between their worlds - celebrating their differences.
So crack open the cans of coke , light the camp fire and pass me the guitar - this truly is the book that teaches the world to sing, in perfect harmony :)
Night Monkey, Day Monkey is a fantastic book from Julia Donaldson. My nieces came for a sleep over one night and brought with them a selection of books to read to my son, they forgot them when they left at the end of the weekend. One of these books was Night Monkey, Day Monkey. I began reading it with my sons one night, my three year old really enjoyed it and understood the sense of humour, laughing in all the appropriate places, my seventeen month old sat and enjoyed the book, I think, loving the rhythm and rhyme of the text rather than understanding what was happening and of course laughing when his brother did, but only because he's up to that mimicking stage.
The idea of the story is that there are two monkeys: Night Monkey, who wakes at night and sleeps during the day, and Day Monkey, who wakes during the day and sleeps during the night. One night Day Monkey is woken by Night Monkey and sees sights that he has never seen before, having never been awake at night before he's never experience croaking frogs or the moon or fire flies, Night Monkey thinks this is funny and is a little surprised each time but tells him what he's looking at:
"Hey" said Day Monkey. "There's a banana. How does it manage to fly?"
Night Monkey laughed and said "Don't be daft, That banana's the moon in the sky"
In the end he gets overwhelmed and goes back to bed. The next day Day Monkey wakes Night Monkey to play. Night Monkey is similarly disturbed by the sights she witnesses for the first time: butterflies, chimpanzees and parrots, again she wonders at the sights and a confident Day Monkey, familiar with all the sights, explains what they are.
"Hey!" said Night Monkey. "Naughty black monkeys! Can't they keep out of our way?"
Day Monkey laughed and said, "Don't be daft, Our shadows are here to stay."
Again, overwhelmed, Night Monkey gives in and goes back to bed. At the end of the book they reach a friendship in a style that suits both of them.
It's a really nice story but never explains the surprise to the children, for this reason you need to explain to your children. Although it is entirely possible for them to enjoy the book without understanding that each monkey has different experiences and won't always be familiar with the same things. A few times during the book you feel that the rhymes have been forced or that the author has had to search for a sentence that works and rhymes with another. Despite this it is an entertaining book that I've enjoyed reading with my children, even though they've asked for it night after night. I even went out and bought a copy when my nieces reclaimed theirs. I wouldn't bother with the book and CD though, it's the one I bought as the only one available, the CD isn't as entertaining and it's badly produced with the narrator much, much quieter than the sound effects and even at nearly full volume, difficult to hear over the sound effects. At a cost of £7.99, with CD included, it is worth the money for the book alone. Four stars awarded, I've deducted one star for the few forced rhymes.
Why this book
This is one of our son's favourite books, he got it for his last birthday from his grandmother and we have enjoyed it a lot as a family since. This was one of our first introductions to author Julia Donaldson and we now have several more books by her in our sons library.
This book is written by Julia Donaldson who has a reputation as a world class writer for children and is perhaps best known for her book "The Gruffalo". She has written according to her website 154 books of which 53 can be bought and the rest are designed just for schools. Unlike the Gruffalo this book is illustrated by Lucy Richards. Richards has written and illustrated about 27 books a couple of which have been with Julia Donaldson.
This book has also won the Smarties Book Prize
About the book
This book tells the story of two Monkeys Night Monkey and Day Monkey. Each one wakes the other one up and they explore together the way the world looks at night and in the day. These worlds are totally different and what one fears, the other loves; what one understands only confuses the other. For instance, Day Monkey asks why there's a big banana in the sky and Night Monkey tells him it's the moon.
This book is a firm favourite of my son and he often will bring it to either me or my husband for us to read him the story. He also likes to sit at times by himself and flick through the book and soak up the bright colourful illustrations.
The language used within the story includes a lot of repetition which has meant my son has gradually picked up some of the words used including parrots and monkey.
As with the majority of Julia Donaldson's books it is written in rhyme and each page has a good rhythm. The rhyming verses just flow beautifully, holding my sons attention as well as mine. The words have a wonderful poetic language to them and sound very melodic when read out loud. Unlike some of her books I never get tongue twisted with this one. I think this is also in part due to there only being a small amount of text on each double page spread. The words also have quirky quality to them and show a great degree of humor at times. One of my personal favorites is
"Screeching owls, The colour of peas and carrots! Day Monkey laughed and said "Don't be daft, Haven't you heard of parrots?"
The illustrations are full of fun and humor and match very well with the story. The faces on the monkeys are actually a bit similar to human faces meaning that young children can probably related to them very well. The use of the dark blue for the night pictures rather than black also helps make the night look less scary to young children.
The only negative point I can think of is the text on the night pages is black on a dark blue which is difficult to read and make an otherwise good book difficult to use with a night light.
Learning and educational point
Apart from the obvious day/night differences it teaches children, I like how it shows how two people can see things from totally different perspectives. This I think is a great way to teach children that it's alright to see things differently to others. It also will help them to learn to question things around them, rather than take everything for granted.
It also has a wonderful message of friendship running through it and how two monkeys or people can still be friends even if they are very different to one another. The way the story ends with them comprising and one stay up late and one getting up early so they can meet is a great way to show children that they can compromise without losing out. This is currently a lesson I am trying to teach my toddler so I have my fingers crossed that he absorbs the message from this book as I do think this message is probably more for older children to understand.
It is also a clever way of reassuring small children about night-time and that things that are around a night are not things to be afraid of.
This is another wonderful book by children's author Julia Donaldson. It helps teach children about night and day and reassures them that there is nothing to be frightened of at night. The illustrations are bright and engaging and help children follow the story well. The copy we have is paperback so has got a little scuffed around the edges but the pages are still bright and have a nice glossy feel to them.
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd; illustrated edition edition (1 April 2002)
Currently on sale on Amazon for £4.16
In this house we are big fans of the children's author Julia Donaldson, particularly because of her Gruffalo books. Because of this, I am always on the look out for books by her, and the latest one we have read is Night Monkey, Day Monkey. I really got the book for my four year old as it is quite short with a lot of repetitive language, but I have to say that my older daughter who is getting on for six enjoys it just as much as her younger sister.
As the title suggests, the story is about two monkeys - one who sleeps in the day and is awake at night, and the other does the opposite, sleeping at night and being awake in the day. They both sleep in the same tree though which does lead to the occasional meeting between the two.
At the start of the story it is dark and Night Monkey is awake. She decides to visit Day Monkey and wake him up. Although he is none too pleased at being awoken, he is soon fascinated by everything that he sees around him. It all looks very different to what he sees in the daylight! He thinks that he sees hundreds of eyes staring at him but of course these are really only stars. He is startled by flying mice and thinks he sees a banana in the sky. Night Monkey has to explain that amongst other things he has seen bats and the moon.
Later on Day Monkey is awake and decides to have a chat with Night Monkey. She is equally puzzled by her surroundings thinking that the butterflies that she sees are moths wearing make-up and that their shadows are two cheeky monkeys getting in their way. By the end of the book both monkeys decide that they really prefer either the day time or night time environment that they are used to but they are quite happy to meet at sunrise or sunset and share a banana for either breakfast or tea depending on the monkey!
I really love the ideas behind this book. It's so clever how Julia Donaldson shows how things might look different depending on what you are used to. Some of the descriptions are superb and my girls particularly love the idea of moths wearing make-up! They find it very funny how each monkey gets so muddled over certain things.
The language used is excellent for small children. There is a lot of repetition which means that it does not take long before they are joining in with the story. It is also written in rhyme and each page has a good rhythm and also I find that my daughter is able to predict the rhyming words which she loves. Added to this, there is only a small amount of text on each page along with some fantastic illustrations. I am also finding that after having heard the story once, my five year old daughter who is in Year 1 has started to read the story to herself and her younger sister. She's always very proud of herself when she is able to do this.
The illustrator for this story is Lucy Richards and her pictures of the two monkeys are quite delighful. The pictures are bold and colourful with lots of detail for interest. It's interesting how the story is in two parts and how the illustrations back this up. The night time story is on a dark blue background and the day time on a much brighter blue. Although I like the way this clearly shows whether it is night or day, this feature does lead me to the one problem I have with the book. I like to read this story to my daughter when she is in bed and we have a dim light in the bedroom. Normally I can read any book by this light, but I have real difficulties reading the night time story as there is black print on a dark background. For my ageing eyes, this is impossible to read without turning on the bright overhead light which I hate having to do.
The copy we have is a board book which makes it nice and sturdy so hopefully it will last as for a while as I get the feeling it's one we will be reading over and over again.
The book is published by Egmont and has a RRP of £4.99.
Night Monkey Day Monkey by Julia Donaldson is a favourite in my house. It's a lovely story which teaches children that we're all different but that's ok. They learn to be best friends as they teach each other all about their worlds. It has also been fantastic at teaching my children a bit about night time and since reading this book, I find my children much more interested in the dark and much less afraid of the unknown. It also taught my children the phrase "Don't be daft" which gets cuter everytime they say it. It's a fantastic choice for bedtime as its so rhythmic it's soothing and also it's all about being sleepy and going to bed. Please buy this book, or borrow it from your local library. It's a funny read and I'm sure it will become a favourite in your household too. The illustrations are by Lucy Richards and are wonderfully detailed.I started reading this to my children when they were about 1 year old and they loved it! An instant favourite!