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Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 920L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (October 19, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 061896620X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618966202
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 10.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
When it comes to wild animals, everyone knows that there are certain things you just don't do. It's clearly a bad idea to tease a tiger, pull a python's tail, or bother a black widow spider. But do you know how dangerous it can be to pet a platypus, collect a cone shell, or touch a tang fish? Some creatures have developed unusual ways of protecting themselves or catching prey, and this can make them unexpectedly hazardous to your health. In this dynamic and fascinating picture book by Steve Jenkins, you'll find out what you should never do if you encounter one of these surprisingly dangerous animals.



A Look Inside Never Smile at a Monkey
(Click on Images to Enlarge)

Harmless looking creatures Never pet a platypus Never collect a cone shell



From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 1–4—A visually stunning book illustrated with cut paper and torn collages. Jenkins's introductory warnings are gently alliterative: "NEVER pet a platypus"; "NEVER touch a tang." The gentleness stops there, however. "NEVER jostle a jellyfish. A box jellyfish, that is. Most jellyfish can sting people, but….If you are unlucky enough to become really entangled with a box jellyfish, you can die very quickly." Readers may enjoy staring deadly danger in the face, knowing that it is distant and rare. They'll also be treated to fascinating facts about creatures like the cassowary, electric caterpillar, cane toad, and puffer fish. Further reading is provided in the back matter, including an explanation of animals' need for powerful protection from their predators in the wild. This exceptionally well-written portion of the book is generously illustrated. The most eloquent of these cut paper and torn collages are on the front and back covers, which feature a rhesus monkey looking solemnly out, and then opening its large mouth filled with scarily sharp teeth. This superlative illustrator has given children yet another work that educates and amazes.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY END

More About the Author

Steve Jenkins has written and illustrated thirty picture books for young readers, including the Caldecott Honor-winning What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? His books have been called stunning, eyepopping, inventive, gorgeous, masterful, extraordinary, playful, irresistible, compelling, engaging, accessible, glorious, and informative. He lives in Colorado with his wife and frequent collaborator, Robin Page, and their children. To learn more about Steve and his books, visit www.stevejenkinsbooks.com.

Customer Reviews

Steve Jenkins is amazing.
C. Lombardo
There are many other creatures, seemingly innocuous, in this book to watch out for.
D. Fowler
It has an expanded vocabulary with interesting new words to learn.
P. Rahe

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ladies and gentlemen do you know what your children desire? What they really want and so often are unable to attain? Practical advice. I don't mean the kind of standard parlor fare they hear so often every day ("Don't chew with your mouth open", "Don't poke the baby", "Don't attempt asbestos removal on your own", etc.). I'm talking about practical advice for surviving in the wild. Here's an example. You're in a boat, floating down the Nile, and you suddenly find yourself facing a hippo. What, in this particular situation, should you NOT do? Hm? Any ideas? Or what if there's a particularly charming Humboldt squid in the neighborhood and it invites you out for a leisurely swim. What should be your response? Kids are being told what not to do all the time, but it might make for a nice change of pace if they knew that if they did one thing or another they could potentially DIE a horrid and painful death. Steve Jenkins taps into the faux pas of the natural world giving us his standard cut paper lusciousness alongside a text that is funny, furious, and furry all at once. As good advice goes, Never Smile at a Monkey turns out to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Using eighteen examples, Steve Jenkins enters the natural world and tells it like it is. First off, "NEVER pet a platypus". Simple text explains that as cute as they are, "the platypus...is the only poisonous mammal." The book continues in this manner, beginning each spread with instruction on on what NEVER to do, and following it up with the explanation why. Cut paper illustrations of fish and fowl, insects and mammals dot the text. At the end further information is given about each creature, and a Bibliography for further reading is included. So don't let that big-eyed cassowary fool you.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amy B. London on April 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter's first grade class has parents come in four days a week to read to the students... the thing is, it's a surprise. My schedule had recently changed, so suddenly I was able to participate! The dilemma: What book do you read to a room full of unique 6- and 7-year-olds? This fabulous nonfiction book. I was the belle of the ball! The students couldn't get enough of these fun (sometimes shocking) facts about what to do if you encounter certain animals in the wild. Unfortunately, due to the excitement and risk of imminent death, I did not have time to finish reading the book. "But you must!" one of the girls exclaimed, "What if we meet up with the other animals and don't know what to do?!" :) No worries. I left it with the teacher to finish at the end of the day. Due to Never Smile at a Monkey, I received a gold star. :)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By The Book Nosher on November 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This fascinating book is chock-full of interesting facts about some of the lesser known and somewhat unusual ways that animals protect themselves. But what makes this so appealing to younger readers is that each page comes with a warning directed to them (i.e. Never Smile at a Monkey), followed by facts explaining why (a rhesus monkey "may interpret your show of teeth as an aggressive gesture and respond violently").

There is a lot of information packed in this standard 32-page picture book. The reading level is perfect for the beginning reader, and along the way they will pick up some new words such as entangled, unpredictable, predator and venomous.

Here are some of the more interesting facts that I picked up:

"NEVER PET A PLATYPUS: ...The platypus is the only poisonous mammal. It has venomous spurs on its hind legs, and it can give you a very painful jab."

"NEVER CLUTCH A CANE TOAD: ...It's harmless except for two large sacs of venom on its neck. If pressed, these pouches squirt out a blinding, and sometimes deadly poison."

"NEVER CONFRONT A KANGAROO: A kangaroo can deliver a kick powerful enough to cave in a person's chest."

You can see why first, second and third graders will eat this up. Reluctant readers will love the somewhat gory facts, and be drawn in by the pictures. The pictures are paper cuts, and they're colorful and appealing. I think Never Smile at a Monkey is a must for teachers and school librarians to have on hand.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Plester on December 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like the illustrations as always with Steve Jenkins books, however i did not expect the outcome of all scenarios to be serious injury or certain death!- it was initially itended for an under 4 and after reading felt it is perhaps more suitable for older age group- The book is certianly very informative but perhaps could have benefitted from some 'Light & Shade'.
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Format: Hardcover
There are some things that people warn you about such don't stick your finger in an electrical socket or you'll get a shock. That makes a lot of sense, but how about something as simple as smiling at a monkey? Well, they are cute and what harm could it do? Don't even think of it. If you "smile at a rhesus (ree-sus) monkey, it may interpret your show of teeth as an aggressive gesture and respond violently." Sometimes it's better to be safe than sorry and there are several animals in this book that come with a few simple words of caution that could actually save your life. In the back of the book you can take a more detailed look at each animal and you'll also find additional recommended reading resources.

You may have seen a snake charmer working his magic on a cobra, blowing on his pungi and enticing the snake to show his hood. These snakes are dangerous and one can "spit its venom accurately for more than eight feet." It one spits in your eye it "can cause intense pain-even permanent damage." There are many other creatures, seemingly innocuous, in this book to watch out for. Included are a platypus, a cone shell, a hippopotamus, a jellyfish, a stingray, a cane toad, a puffer fish, a bear cub, an electric caterpillar, a cassowary, an African buffalo, a tang (coral reef fish), a blue-ringed octopus, a kangaroo, a beaded lizard, a squid and, of course, that rhesus monkey. I bet you didn't realize there were so many dangerous critters around!

This was a fun, but sometimes scary look at several critters in the animal kingdom. Some I was totally unaware of their injurious and sometimes deadly self-defense mechanisms, while others are quite obvious. It was an interesting book to read and browse. The collage was simple, yet delightful, realistic and quite well executed.
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