CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 25 . . . . March 1, 2013
As is the case with other titles in the "Tadpoles: Nursery Rhymes" series, this slim volume contains two rhymes, with the opening one being a traditional rhyme and the second one being newly created by the reteller who has employed the same rhyming scheme as the original. In this instance, reteller Chambers provides just the opening stanza of a counting rhyme concerning the actions of some bed-jumping juvenile simians. Because the book only contains this single verse, a note needed to be added to the end of this section to inform those who were unfamiliar with this traditional counting-down chant that the verse could/should be repeated four more times by just changing the number of the uninjured monkeys who continued to engage in this "dangerous" activity.
The new verse involves a group of young five penguins who are learning to slide down an icy slope. The first one runs into an ice lump and injures his side. Unlike the monkeys' mother, who called for a doctor's assistance, when the young penguin got injured, "Mama called his Papa", and his response was the admonishment:
The final page of each of the book's two rhymes repeats the words in their entirety and challenges emergent readers by asking: "Can you point to the rhyming words?"
The book's penultimate page, labelled "Puzzle Time!", presents an illustration of all seven penguins on a sheet of ice located next to a body of water and asks readers, "How many fish can you see in this picture?" The final page offers "Notes for adults" who will be using this book with their young charges as well as the answer key for the fish counting quiz.
Chambers' lively cartoon-like illustrations are very well-suited for the light-hearted fare found in the two poems. The bottom right-hand corner of most of the rectos contains a waist-up illustration of a boy who is making a hand/arm gesture. Perhaps the young reader/listener is expected to mimic his actions, but that expectation is never made explicit.
Directed at emergent readers, Five Little Monkeys; and Five Little Penguins will find an audience, but those youngsters who have already experienced an extended version of the monkeys' antics may be disappointed.
Recommended with reservations.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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