Author and Illustrator: Ed Vere
Age Range: 2+
Genre: Picture Book
Cover Score: ***
Overall Score: ****
First sentence: Banana!
Using just the two words 'banana' and 'please' Vere tells the tale of two monkeys; one with a banana and one without.
The monkey sans banana (wearing a red shirt) sees the other monkey (wearing a blue shirt) holding a banana and exclaims 'banana!' While blue monkey looks a little panicked and clutches the banana protectively against his chest red monkey's shoulders droop in disappointment. 'Banana?' He queries. A temper tantrum ensues while blue monkey looks on eventually encouraging red monkey to eek out the word 'please'. He hands it over only to have his own feeling of disappointment as red monkey runs off in triumph and begins to eat it. Blue monkey also utters a desperate 'please' and the two monkeys split their prize, both happy with their piece of the 'banana!'
This is one of those books that makes me think 'hey I could do this!' It's so simple. But it's so effectively done. A great read-aloud option with a variety of voice options and inflections, short enough that even the tiniest of listeners will be engaged. There is no distracting background scenery, just the two monkeys and the banana, the background color echoing the emotion being portrayed. A large 12x12 format makes it ideal for a large group.
The endpapers are bright colored graphic blocks with an image of a banana in the front cover and a banana peel in the back.
Why is it that 'banana' is such a funny word? I have to admit that while reading it to myself I read the word 'banana' in the voice of a Minion. Have you seen the trailer for the second movie yet? Here, let me oblige you...
And if you can't get enough of bananas, try this book. I promise you will giggle along with Elephant and Piggie. Or there's this wordless option that's also pretty great.
I think I see a 'banana' themed story time in my future!