Monday, February 15, 2016

[ARC REVIEW] Manners are Not for Monkeys by Heather Tekavec

Title:  Manners are Not for Monkeys

Author:  Heather Tekavec

Artist: David Huyck

Genre:  Animals / Manners / Children's / Humor / Deconstruction

Year Published: 2016

Year Read:  2016

Publisher: Kids Can Press

Source: eARC (NetGalley)

Content Rating:  Ages 5+ (Some Suggestive Themes)

I would like to thank NetGalley and Kids Can Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Now, I have read many children’s books about manners and what constitutes as good manners and bad manners, but I had never read a children’s book where the message about what manners is all about is turned on its head!  “Manners Are Not for Monkeys” is a children’s book written by Heather Tekavec along with illustrations by David Huyck that tells the story of how a group of well-behaved monkeys ended up getting mixed up with a group of unruly children and man, was the conclusion of this story a doozy!

The story starts off with an old zookeeper moving the monkeys to a cage near the picnic area where a group of children were playing.  When the little monkeys observed what the children were doing, they started acting like the children too, such as chewing with their mouths closed and keeping their cage tidy.  When Mother Monkey sees this, she is wondering why her children are acting so strange and are not doing things that monkeys normally do such as chew with their mouths open and keeping their cage messy.  One day, a group of children came to the zoo and started doing wild activities such as roaring like lions and sloshing through the mud like elephants and when they came to the cage of the polite monkeys, they wondered why the monkeys were not acting as unruly as they were and they started acting just as wild as before.

What will the zookeeper do to fix this mess?

Read this book to find out!

Wow!  This book was truly unique and amazing as I never would have thought that I would see a children’s book that deals with the topic of manners in a bizarre twist!  Heather Tekavec has done a fantastic job in writing this book as the humor is quite witty and I enjoyed the fact that we have monkeys who are portrayed as being polite due to mimicking what the children at the picnic area were doing.  It also shows a great message about how people have to be careful about how they behave themselves around children since they are most likely to imitate whatever activities they are doing, whether they are good or bad.  While it was unusual seeing Mother Monkey promoting bad behavior for the monkeys, it was done in a way that acting unruly is part of a monkey’s nature and that she was only trying to get her children to behave like how monkeys usually behave.  David Huyck’s artwork is comical and cute to look at as the monkeys are drawn in an exaggerated fashion and I really like the images where Mother Monkey’s face contorts in an exaggerated rage as her face turns red and her mouth goes enormously wide!

Parents should know that this book sends a mixed message about the importance of good manners as Mother Monkey is showing distaste for her children whenever they are displaying good manners and that might confuse smaller children who want to learn what good manners are all about. Parents might want to explain to their children about the importance of good manners and that this book is merely poking fun at manners as a whole.

Overall, Manners Are Not for Monkeys” is a truly fun book for children who want a good deconstruction on manners as a whole and who love reading books about monkeys!  I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the mixed message about manners might be confusing for smaller children.

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