I was instantly drawn to the title as Monkey Nut is a pet name that I often use for the boys, but I was also keen to investigate it as C is a huge fan of Rickerty’s illustrations for the fantabulous ‘Unfortunately‘, by Alan Durant.
We weren’t disappointed. At all. This is a simple text, following the story of two spiders (C is the blue one and H is the red one, so they tell me) who bear more than a passing resemblance to the boys in terms of their current attitude to sharing, i.e., not really enormous fans of the concept, thanks very much.
The plot follows the spiders finding increasingly creative uses for the monkey nut, all of which make C and H howl with laughter!
The original two spiders then realise that the elephant has done them a real favour and solved their sharing problem perfectly!
There are very few words in this book, and the word ‘mine’ is repeated many times. Reading it out loud reminded me of how I read ‘Banana‘, by Ed Vere (another book to which H, in particular, is very partial), giving each repetition of the word a different tone, volume and expression. In a lot of ways it makes me work harder than much more wordy books, but it’s worth it to see the boys getting so much out of the story.
C enjoyed the book because he made the link with my pet name for he and he felt very grown-up being able to ‘read’ the repeated words. As is often the way with books that have little or no text, he also seemed to really enjoy creating his own interpretation of events and telling me what was going on. H loved the many different ways in which ‘mine’ could be said and he loved the part where the spider uses the monkey nut as a telephone (he pretends any object that’s not nailed down is a telephone at the moment).
This book is one that I think could be enjoyed by children over a wide age range, as young babies would appreciate the bold colours and uncluttered pages (I’m not sure if a board book version will be available, as this would be preferable for smaller hands) and older children could read the story out loud themselves and talk about the potential difficulties encountered when trying to share. It’s also great to share the magic of using our imagination and being able to see simple objects in different and exciting ways.
This book has already been read many times this week and I’m sure is destined to find its place in the Story Seekers Hall of Fame!