100 Hungry Monkeys!
This playful picture book encourages pre-readers and early readers to explore the concept of 100. Unusual in that it is a narrative-driven counting book, it offers a delightful and lively story about 100 hungry monkeys who set out to find themselves some food. Once their bellies are full, they all settle in for a nap, but then a monster suddenly appears. They fear he wants to make them lunch, so they all run for their lives. All ends well, however, once the monkeys realize the monster really just wants to be their friend. Japanese author-illustrator Masayuki Sebe, well-known for his high-energy activity books for children, spreads every scene of the story across two pages, with all 100 monkeys arranged in a chaotic group in nearly every spread, making it a challenge for children to keep track while they count them all. Though the activity mainly centers on counting, there are also cues for children to search for specific items within the busy artwork, encouraging a close reading of both the text and the images, and promoting visual literacy. This book works well, with the emphasis on 100, in the math curricula for the early grades, and it would make an excellent tie-in for the important celebrations of the 100th day of the school year. As well, since the monkeys are described using a different adjective on every page --- from excited to brave to sleepy --- it would also make an excellent resource for a language arts lesson about the parts of speech.