I Love You, Little Monkey written by Alan Durant and illustrated by Katharine McEwen
I Love You, Little Monkey
Author: Alan Durant
Illustrator: Katharine McEwen
Illustrations: full page color illustrations
Text Density per page: 3-10 short sentences
Age: 3 and up
My Goodreads Rating: 3 stars (I liked it)
Similar Book: Mommy, Do You Love Me? by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Jan Fearnley
Summary: I Love You, Little Monkey
Little Monkey impatiently waits while Big Monkey tries to do monkey work (picking figs, making a leaf bed, taking a nap):
“Will you play with me?” he asked Big Monkey.
But Big Monkey was picking figs for supper and could not play.
“Little Monkey, why don’t you do some climbing?” asked Big Monkey.
But, Little Monkey keeps managing to get into trouble:
So Little Monkey climbed. He climbed up to the top of the Big Tree . . .
and when he climbed down again, he found Big Monkey’s pile of figs.
He threw one at the Big Tree.
Little Monkey laughed.
He threw another fig . . .
and another and another.
SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT!
After each offense, Big Monkey patiently corrects Little Monkey and calmly finishes the work. Finally, Big Monkey is ready to lay down for a nap.
Big Monkey lay down on his bed and . . .
Little Monkey played.
He danced . . .
and swung . . .
and jumped . . .
and . . .
. . . landed right on top of Big Monkey!
At which point, Big Monkey loses it:
“You naughty monkey!” shouted Big Monkey.
“Go up to your bed now!”
“Little Monkey climbed up to his bed.
He started to cry.
After Little Monkey is allowed to come back down, he asks Big Monkey, “Do you love me when I’m naughty?” The answer is sweet, “Of course I do,” said Big Monkey. “I may not like the naughty things you do, but I love you always. Even when you’re naughty. Now, let’s play swing and chase.”
Later, Little Monkey apologizes for being naughty, and in return Big Monkey says, “And I’m sorry I shouted at you. It was naughty of me to shout at you.” The book ends with affirmations of love.
Illustrations: I Love You, Little Monkey
Katharine McEwen’s comic watercolor and pencil illustrations are cute and imaginative.
My Opinion: I Love You, Little Monkey
Alan Durant’s I Love You, Little Monkey may make some parents uncomfortable because unlike most books that only show children acting badly; this picture book shows a parent acting badly as well. Unfortunately, imperfect parenting while unpleasant to read about, happens also to be eerily familiar.
A parent could use I Love You, Little Monkey, as a chance to talk about how we all act badly and need the grace of God. The book also celebrates love not based on merit and forgiveness.