Title: Are you a Monkey? A Tale of Animal Charades
Written and Illustrated by: Marine Rivoal
Published by: Phaidon Press
This is a creative non-fiction book using animal characters and the guessing game of charades to divulge poignant facts about a wide variety of jungle animals. The title Are you a Monkey? is memorable, intriguing and matches the tone of the story, as well as highlighting the charades theme of this picture book.
The beautiful screen-printed illustrations are bright and fun, creating a lively jungle setting and atmosphere. The structure of the book is ideal for keeping a child turning the pages to find out who is character is acting out, whilst providing space for the child to interpret the story, with added humour as toucan keeps guessing wrong.
I personally felt Marine Rivoal could have developed each individual character more with exciting sound effects and a wider variety of dialogue, rather than using the same phrase to disclose what animal they were pretending to be. There was also an explanation of what charades is at the beginning, which I felt was not necessary and a little preachy. The story works well without this.
A cute and satisfying ending that resolves the question of who the tiny starfish could act out, creating a ‘big reveal’ moment and bringing the story full circle.
This book would be great for acting out the characters at home or in the classroom and could spark of a wide range of investigative work on finding out more about the animals portrayed.