Archive for the ‘Hello Genius’ Category

Review: Little Monkey Calms Down

09 Jan

Blog Pics Jan 2016 001 Little Monkey Calms Down

Written by Michael Dahl

Illustrated by Oriol Vidal

Publisher: Picture Window Books

ISBN-10: 1479522864

ISBN-13: 978-1479522866


What’s In It:

Like the “Little Dinos” series, this “Hello Genius” series tackles moral issues such as listening, saying “thank you,” and “sorry,” and calming down. Unlike the very successful “Little Dinos” books, this series has a new animal character for each story (tiger, kitty, elephant).

Little Monkey Calms Down begins with Little Monkey having a bad day: he’s dropped his ice cream. Cue excessive crying and hysterical illustrations of a young child’s tantrum that keep a young reader’s attention, along with text that is simply put and helpful. The author suggests that it is okay to cry and then proceeds to list out alternates to figure out how to calm down, like snuggling with a blanket or learning how to take a deep breath.

Mom’s View:

If you have a child that has frequent tantrums—basically, if you have a child—you need this book. My five-year-old wanted to read this and immediately identified the monkey as himself, and the mommy and daddy monkeys as “Mommy and Daddy.”

My child has a history of tantrums, and we have offered many alternates for calming down that have not worked, including deep breathing. None of these traditional techniques (counting to 10, deep breathing, focusing on a visual) have worked—we’re talking “I don’t want to count to 10!” type of responses. When Little Monkey takes a deep breath, and I mimicked that, my son immediately responded and mimicked as well. A few days later when he was upset, we repeated the exercise.

I cannot say enough good things about this one. We’ll be looking into the rest of the series, especially those about sharing and listening!

Blog Pics Jan 2016 002

Art Notes:

Oriol Vidal’s artwork is clean and approachable, and still captures the style of Dahl’s earlier series. Clearly artwork that a young audience will gravitate towards.

Editor’s Notes:

My one nitpicky editorial note is that we go from a point of view shift in the last two pages of the book. Up until then, it’s the narrator/speaker’s voice giving the reader information about Little Monkey, and then giving Little Monkey instructions directly. Both of which are fine, but then we have the appearance of two adult-size monkeys, which we only assume are mom and dad, and it’s clear they are speaking directly to LM in the last two pages. A reader probably would not pick up on it, but as an editor, I would have smoothed that out a bit, or picked one POV from the first page on.