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Cover image for Monkey : not ready for kindergarten
Monkey : not ready for kindergarten

First edition.
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2015.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Kindergarten is just a week away and Monkey is not ready, but with help and encouragement from family and friends, he begins to get excited.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader 2.4 0.5.


Call Number
Starting School Brown
J Brown

On Order



Kindergarten is only a week away...but Monkey is NOT ready. What if he gets on the wrong bus? What if they don't have any red crayons? What if he doesn't like the snacks? What if he doesn't make new friends? There are so many thoughts running through Monkey's head! But step by step, his family eases his worries- they get him a new backpack, help him read books about school, prepare his lunch, and make sure Monkey is excited-and ready-for the Big Day.

Author Notes

Author and illustrator, Marc Brown was born in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1946. He attended the Cleveland Institute of Art. After college, he worked numerous odd jobs before he began his career.

He is most renown for creating the Arthur series. The idea for Arthur, the aardvark came one night while telling his son a bedtime story. The first title in the series was "Arthur's Nose" written in 1976. Since then, Brown has written over thirty books in the Arthur Adventure series. D. W., Arthur's sister was another character created by Brown. In addition to writing, Brown also developed the Arthur television series on PBS.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Monkey draws on his supportive family to combat first-day-of-school jitters in this new picture book. His parents and big brother are very excited about kindergarten, but Monkey isn't so sure. Along with the usual list of worrisome "what ifs," Monkey doubts he even needs kindergarten. After all, he can count to 12, and he's pretty good with the alphabet. Brown's narrative models a family-centered approach to combating common preschool fears as Monkey and his family prepare together for the big day. Monkey plays teacher, demonstrating for his "students" (Mom and Dad) how to count, and they visit the library to read books about starting school. A playdate with some of his potential classmates gives him a chance to start making friends early, and the night before, Monkey helps get everything ready. Throughout, the emphasis is on Monkey as an active participant in the preparation, taking ownership of this new experience. He picks out his own lunchbox, helps pack his lunch, and even selects a favorite book to remind him of home. With his big, expressive eyes, Monkey is the center of Brown's vibrant spreads. Colored pencil and gouache illustrations and childlike hand lettering illuminate Monkey's personality and keep the story grounded in his perspective. VERDICT While not breaking any new ground, Brown's kid-centered perspective and accessible model for preparation make this title rise to the top of its class. A first purchase.-Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Hennepin County Library, MN © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Kindergarten is approaching, and Monkey's fears are mounting: "What if he can't remember the whole alphabet? What if he doesn't make new friends?" Luckily, there's a week left before school actually starts, which gives Monkey's family plenty of time to help him feel ready. They all "play school" at home (Monkey and his brother take turns being teacher), and a play date lets Monkey meet his future classmates ahead of time. Brown's hand-scrawled text and childlike pencil-and-gouache artwork give the impression that he's on Monkey's side-and that of readers-from the very first page, creating an eminently reassuring and empathetic resource for kindergarteners-to-be. Ages 3-7. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

With a long list of "What ifs?" concerning everything from making friends to learning the alphabet to finding the bathroom, Monkey feels uneasy about starting kindergarten. His family, however, rallies to soothe his worries and prepare him for the big day. Handwritten text and colorful illustrations emphasize the child-centered psyche at work, while the content offers a calming model for addressing children's anxieties. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

In the week before kindergarten starts, Monkey's parents and older brother do all they can to help him feel ready. Will it be enough? At the beginning of the week, Monkey is definitely not ready. He sucks his thumb while snuggling his blankie, plays with his familiar toys, and has a whole list of worries. Besides, he doesn't really need to go to school: he can already count to 12 and remember most of the alphabet. His parents buy him a new lunch box and cool sneakers; he plays school with his family, and his older brother tells him about all the fun he'll have; and Mommy and Daddy read him all the books about kindergarten at the library. A playdate with his new classmates also helps put his fears to rest. The night before his first day, he makes his lunch and packs a favorite book from home, and in the morning, Monkey walks into his classroom, finally ready. While the colored-pencil-and-gouache illustrations are bright and colorful and show things that will be familiar to readers, Brown's monkeys are not terribly cute or cuddly. Rendered in a childlike style, their expressions are sometimes odd. Also, those practicing new reading skills may have difficulty with Brown's handwritten text, as the a's look like d's, letters that usually dip below the line don't, and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between upper- and lowercase letters. Still, sure to give readers, whether adult or child, lots of ideas for easing children into the transition to school. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

The opening pages show a frowning monkey on a lunch box. The uneven block-print text, with lines askew, reflects Monkey's hesitation about starting school. He's worried about everything, from studying to making friends. Happily, he has a supportive family who gives him confidence through role-playing and play dates, and by the time school starts, he's ready. Created with colored pencils and gouache, Brown's artwork captures Monkey's evolving emotions. Double-page spreads have plenty of movement as young Monkey progresses from resistance and fear to acceptance and joy. The final, wordless pages, showing his interaction with friends, feature lots of horizontal and vertical lines; order and harmony have been achieved! Pair with Monstergarten, by Daniel J. Mahoney (2013), for a different take on kindergarten fears.--Ching, Edie Copyright 2015 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

"Shake your eggs high! Shake your eggs low!" Sound familiar? You've been to those neighborhood classes that introduce many toddlers (and parents) to music - and organized learning. But as Weinstone, the former punk rocker behind the popular Music for Aardvarks program, knows, not every child jumps right in. As the others rock out with their bearded teacher, one little guy needs time. By the end of this friendly, stylishly illustrated rhyme-fest, he's got the beat and hates to say goodbye. MAPLE & WILLOW APART Written and illustrated by Lori Nichols. 32 pp. Nancy Paulsen. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 2 to 6) It's a moment of hard truth every younger sibling faces: Maple is off to kindergarten, while Willow's routine stays the same. In the latest in this utterly charming series about two tree-loving sisters, Maple compounds the injury by coming home each day and gabbing endlessly about the exciting goings-on at school. Luckily, Willow finds a magical new friend, Pip, who sometimes seems like a plain old acorn. Nichols's touch is light and deft as ever as playing with Pip brings the girls together again. DAD'S FIRST DAY Written and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka. 32 pp. Bloomsbury. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 6) Wohnoutka's back-to-school story mines the helicopter parenting phenomenon for big laughs, even for those who may cringe in recognition. After Oliver and his father spend a summer doing everything together, it's Dad who's reluctant to face the first day of school. "My tummy hurts," he says, then dawdles and hides as Oliver worries about being late. "You're probably going to really miss me when you're at school," Dad says in the car, to which the smiling child replies, deadpan, "Sure, Daddy." MONKEY: Not Ready for Kindergarten Written and illustrated by Marc Brown. 32 pp. Knopf. $12.99. (Picture book; ages 4 to 6) Poor Monkey is not convinced by all the enthusiasm for his first day of kindergarten. He has a list of what might go wrong, like "What if his teacher doesn't like him?" A play date with future classmates and an arranged secret goodbye handshake with his parents pay off as he enters the classroom smiling. Brown patiently covers the fear-of-school bases, and his soft, child-like art, which evokes an improbably skillful grade-schooler's crayon work, helps put us inside Monkey's point of view. IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING AN ALLIGATOR TO SCHOOL, DON'T! Written and illustrated by Elise Parsley. 32 pp. Little, Brown. $17. (Picture book; ages 4 to 7) This debut introduces Magnolia, who has a choppy black haircut and a mouth often wide open in a yelp. She has some hard-won advice: Alligators are not advisable in school. Hers caused a heap of disaster, with enormous webs of chewing gum, origami everywhere and a mean-looking gray-haired teacher dispensing punishment. Some adults may find it too familiar, but children are likely to get a kick out of Magnolia's not-quite-contrite tone and the colorful chaos her giant pet creates. ONLINE An expanded visual presentation of this week's column at nytimes.com/books.