Review Blog

May 23 2016

Taking turns by Lisa Kerr

cover image

Cheeky Monkey manners. The Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760402662
(Ages: 2-5) Recommended. This is another in the Cheeky Monkey manners series (Please, Thank you, Sorry, Excuse me, Listening) and one of many in the Cheeky Monkey series. The small board book format is suited to preschool and early childhood and is a fun way to springboard discussions about manners - what they are, and when to use them. In this title, Cheeky Monkey hasn't learned how to take turns yet. When he has his friends over to play and they ask to have a turn of his bubble toy, it is lucky his mother is there to step in. She gives him a special timer for knowing when to swap over. Later on, she helps again, giving Cheeky Monkey a painted pebble to help the friends take turns talking and listening. The colourful illustrations are large without great detail; Cheeky Monkey is the main element on each page with a secondary focus on the other animals and their facial expressions. There are, however, many additional small animals (frogs, birds, mice, butterflies, etc.) which will enable younger children to retain focus, give them things to search for and foster discussions about the illustrations.
This book is great because it doesn't just talk about the importance of taking turns; it shows how much fun the animals all have have when they take turns, gives simple strategies that children can use for taking turns and encourages children to think about what it is like for the other animals when they don't get a turn. Social skills books such as these can often be overly didactic, but this one is understanding of children and of how hard it is to take turns. It lets the child know that it is okay to have trouble taking turns sometimes, but gives strategies for improving. The text manages successfully to tell an engaging story, get a message across and remain concise. With only five double-page spreads this book will keep young readers interested until the very end. Overall, it is a fun, simple way to introduce the idea of taking turns and learn some strategies for doing so.
Nicole Smith-Forrest

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