Monday, October 19, 2009

"The Laceyville Monkeys" by Harriett Ruderman and illustrated by Beverly Luria

"The Laceyville Monkeys: Say the Right Words" by Harriett Ruderman and illustrated by Beverly Luria is a fun book for children, especially those enamored with monkeys. It is about three monkeys who have special talents. One can sing, one can act, and one can dance. Their teacher / mentor enrolls them in a local competition where they can showcase their abilities. When a human grandmother--possibly estranged--discovers this, she tries to exploit the monkeys. However, the monkeys do not work in her favor because she treats them poorly. Only when the teacher says kind and encouraging words do the monkeys perform at their best. The main theme of the book is that a kind word can go a long way, and that impetuous anathemas do nothing but harm. The pictures are fun, and children will be amused at the superfluous images of other animals putting on shows. There are some subtle undertones against the elderly in the book, but most children will not pick up on this.

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