Whenever I sit down with the girls for storytime we have an unwritten rule that it’s one for Kitty’s choice, one for Elma, and one that Mummy chooses. And for the most part that works pretty well; Elma’s books are Kitty’s old friends, and most of her new ones are popular all round, and if we get Elma tucked up just right so that she can’t make too much of a bid to chew the nice shiny pages, I think she enjoys the rhythm and the words of the stories aimed at her sister.
But I love it when I find a book that just hits the nail on the head for both of them. And right now this is one of those; Monkey and Me.
Emily Gravett has a gorgeously fluid illustrative style, and she has such a beautiful way of drawing toddlers that I see so much of Kitty’s role play and expressions in her little girl, and I rather suspect that Kitty sees herself a little bit, or at the very least, a ‘my friend’.
Our version is the baby board book so we can hand it over to Elma to explore, and while she turns the pages, I read the words, the little girl and her monkey go off on another adventure to meet the animals and Kitty can either shout out which one is coming next, or, if she’s got a little energy to burn, run around the lounge trying to be a kangaroo.
As well as the kangaroos we get to be elephants, bats, monkeys, and the pinnacle of toddler impersonations – penguins!
The “monkey and me, monkey and me, monkey and me, we went to see…” refrain is perfect for Elma, and Kitty’s got most of the book memorised so she reads along with me. But I think there’s enough there in the illustrations and the imagination it triggers that Kitty isn’t just sat waiting for her turn; she’s as engaged and interested as she is in her own books.
And that makes for a very happy fun story time.
Do go and say hi to Lucy and Kelle and see what they’ve been reading, and if you’ve seen something you think we all ought to be reading, please let us know!