Five Little Monkeys with Nothing to Do

by Eileen Christelow

Clarion Books, 1996, Ages 3-6

“This is pure silliness—just the kind kids like. The monkeys’…mess-making skills, as demonstrated in the watercolor art, are impressive”
­— ALA Booklist

ISBN 978–0–395–75830–4 (hardcover)
978–0–618–04032–2 (paper)
978–0–618–24615–1 (board)
978–0–618–89423–9 (bilingual Spanish/English board book)

The Story:

The monkeys are BORED! “There is nothing to do!” they tell Mama. “Oh yes there is!” she replies. “Grandma Bessie is coming for lunch and the house must be neat and clean.”

Well-meaning as ever, the five little monkeys clean their room, scrub the bathroom, beat the rugs and pick blueberries for dessert. But then, if you know anything about these monkeys, you know that trouble can’t be far away!

The Idea:

This story started with a picture of the monkeys washing a car! It turned into a story about cleaning up; but there was NO CAR. How did that happen? Well… Mama monkey wanted those kids to clean up their messy room! So I listened to her.

The Illustrations:

Were drawn with pen and ink and colored with gouache. How do I draw dust and dirt? I used the graphite in my pencil sharpener to make dust and the dirt on the monkeys’ faces. Then I sprayed the picture with workable fixative so the ‘dust’ wouldn’t wipe off.

Click on the blackboard for Monkey classroom ideas.

Read my dog, Emma’s, comic interview with the Monkeys!

Download a Five Little Monkeys Activity Kit!

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