Monday, November 16, 2020

Review: The Farmer and the Monkey by Marla Frazee


by Marla Frazee
Beach Lane Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

The farmer has another unexpected visitor from the nearby circus in this humorous and tender follow-up to The Farmer and the Clown by two-time Caldecott Honor–winning Marla Frazee.

After his new friend the baby clown returned home to the circus train, the farmer expected to resume his quiet and solitary life. Little does he know a playful circus monkey has followed him home! At first, the farmer isn’t sure what to make of his excitable houseguest’s wild sense of fun, but he soon learns that sometimes an unexpected visit can lead to a wonderful new friendship.

Sweet, funny, and full of emotion, this wordless second book in Marla Frazee’s stunning trilogy is sure to become a classic favorite for young readers.


Words aren't necessary to make this a read packed with giggles, surprises, gasps and heart-filled moments.

This is a book without words, and they are not necessary. The illustrations drive this book from beginning to end. I love books like this because it demonstrates how potent good illustrations can be. From the first page to the last, every moment sits and hits with its very own emotional impact. And it tells a wonderful story, too. 

It's funny to watch the monkey follow the farmer, and this alone will have listeners giggling and wondering what will happen next. The 'plot' builds from page to page. It's clear what's going on, and yet, there's room for kids to allow their own stories to take flight in their imaginations. While the monkey follows and watches the farmer in the first pages, the reasoning behind the monkey's actions are left open to interpretation. It's a wonderful way to allow kids to take the first steps in their own story telling. Or even more importantly, it allows their own imaginations to work, wonder and take flight. 

Still, this tale has clear messages and situations. The monkey's antics and the farmer's reactions remind of patience, forgiveness, and warming care. A friendship develops and yet, there's an ending, which calls for a chuckle, understanding, and even a little sigh of relief. It's a great tale, which invites to be read over and over again, and can easily become a favorite with some 'readers'.

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