Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Manners Are Not For Monkeys!

Tekavec, Heather (Author)
Huyck, David (Illustrator)
Kids Can Press 2016. 32 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9781771380515 (hardcover)
9781771386968 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The zookeeper moves the monkeys’ little cage right beside the playground and, before too long, the monkeys begin to ape their human cousins, “who swung and played and ate almost like monkeys … but not quite.” Soon the monkeys are chewing with their mouths closed, waiting their turn and tidying up. “Manners are not for monkeys,” their mother tells them. They must screech and swing “like the monkeys I know you are.” But when the monkeys monkey around, the children, in turn, watch them. The quandary is resolved when the monkeys encounter a group of ill-behaved, slovenly children who out-monkey the monkeys. Realizing she’s made a mistake, the zookeeper lets all the monkeys out of their cage and puts all the little scamps in.

The full-page colour drawings fully bear out the promise of monkey mimicry and visually echo the narrative’s consonance and wordplay. The well-mannered monkeys are hilariously at a loss as to what to do with their tails, sitting primly on a ball peeling a banana, or sweeping their cage floor with a palm frond. The last page shows parents of both species delighted with the switch.

Exaggerated and cartoonish, the book’s comic tone nonetheless allows for questions about the nature of behaviour, of the genetic proximity of species and, most subtly, of zoos.

  •  

    Discuss the idea of manners. Create a mind map to show your understanding of what, when and where manners are used.

  •  As you read, notice the characters’ facial expressions. Use these details, and clues in the text, to infer how they are feeling.
  •  

    What manners are important at school? What manners would be important at monkey school? In groups, make a list: Monkey Manners at School. Use your discussion, the book and your mind map from the previous activity to help you.

  •  

    Discuss the cover illustrations. What are manners? As a group, write a definition of manners. After the read-aloud, revise your definition as needed.

  •  

    Use a graphic organizer to compare and contrast the manners expected of children and those expected of monkeys.

  •  

    Decide what is realistic in this book and what doesn’t make sense.

  •  

    What manners are important at school? What manners would be important at monkey school? In groups, make a list: Monkey Manners at School. Use your discussion, the book and your graphic organizer from the previous activity to help you.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life