________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 31. . . .April 17, 2015


Sometimes We Think You Are a Monkey.

Johanna Skibsrud & Sarah Blacker. Illustrated by Julie Morstad.
Toronto, ON: Puffin/Penguin Canada, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
ISBN 978-0-670-06712-1.

Preschool / Birth-age 3.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

*** /4



Most librarians and teachers know the storytime favourite It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw (Harper, 1947). The simple story here follows the same familiar arc as it compares the traits of various animals to the activities of a human baby.

Sometimes we are certain you are a... KITTEN

Because you love to stretch yourself in the sun when it

shines through the window. But you are not a kitten.


Sometimes we believe you are an... OWL

Because when you are sleepy you open only one

of your blue eyes, as though you are a wise baby owl.

But you are not an owl

     The text is a lullaby of parallel descriptions, accompanied by charming images of animals and birds. The book culminates with the Ďrevelationí that the listener is not any of these other creatures but that:

You are a perfect new baby

More beautiful than we ever could have imagined,

More wonderful than all of the animals in the kingdom.

     Vancouver artist Julie Morstadís clear graphic style and soft colour palette are well-suited to the depiction of all the friendly beasts included here. The book is beautifully designed, with the animal names in a large font as an additional illustrative element. Morstad has an elegant website, too, if you want to find out about her other work.

      The text is a labour of love from two writers better known for their writing for adults. (Skibsrud won the ScotiaBank Giller prize in 2010 for The Sentimentalists and has four other novels to her credit. Blacker is a writer and editor with a science background. Sometimes We Think You Are a Monkey is a tender tribute to infancy, aimed at parents (or grandparents) who want to curl up with a baby and a quiet book.

      Not an entirely original work, but a worthy addition to public library and preschool picture book collections.


Ellen Heaney is a retired childrenís librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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