Slowly! Slowly! a book review


Title: Slowly! Slowly!
by: T. M. Clark
illustrated by: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books

Slowly, slowly, you catch a monkey …

Bongani wants to go to school but he is too young. To prove to his family that he is big and strong just like his cousins, he tries to catch a monkey.
Slowly, slowly, he must go.
Luckily his family is there to school him in the lessons of patience and compassion.

I love the very first sentence of Slowly! Slowly! written by author, T. M. Clark:

Bongani stood tall.

It is brimming with anticipation. And as you read on, you can feel the blanket of peace and love that surrounds the main character. The words of the story also whisper that same blanket to you, gently, gently, like the singing of a lullaby.

Slowly! Slowly! is a clever story. Imbued into the tale is the unfolding guidance of how to catch a monkey with the kind encouragement of the father, the calm teaching of the grandfather, and the insightful way of looking at a problem from a different point of view, which is a way of teaching resilience.

Inside the story, we follow a young child named Bongani, while he tries to catch a monkey. His failed attempts are followed by guidance from his grandfather, revealed layer by layer, teaching Bongani patience; a virtue that is sometimes lost in the busy-ness of our lives today.

I particularly enjoyed the way Bongani’s family would work out whether he was ready for school …

‘Dad, am I big enough?
Am I higher than the hyena?
Can I go to school?’

Mathematically, the act of measuring your height against an animal to see if you are tall enough to go to school is full of imagination and excitement. This comparison would make an interesting discussion in families and schools.

Illustrator, Helene Magisson, has once again shown her extraordinary artistic talent in the pages of Slowly! Slowly! and has created a visual space where a variety of thoughts and ideas coexist in addition to the text, telling a story where the words don’t, or where the words imply particular ideas or feelings. Helene’s choice of gentle tones wraps around the mind of the reader, encouraging a connection and deep understanding of the character of Bongani.

Parents and teachers will love Slowly! Slowly! as author, T.M. Clark, deploys with sparkling effect, the use of alliteration, repetition, word rhythm and story building. The tale naturally lends itself to variance of voice as you read, from gentle words to the shouting of “GO AWAY!”

Slowly! Slowly! is an engaging and heart-warming story that is a must for children to read. Patience, compassion and resilience speak a gentle heart-song through the story, gifting children with mind tools to use through their lifetime.

(Slowly! Slowly! is adapted as a South African story, this variation of ‘Softly, softly, catchee monkey’ was originally an Ashanti (Ghana) proverb quoted by Lord Robert Baden-Powell, Founder of the Boy Scouts)

Purchase a copy: Slowly! Slowly!

Title: Slowly! Slowly!
Author: T. M. Clark
Illustrator: Helene Magisson
Publisher: Wombat Books
Format: 9781925563221
ISBN: Hard cover
For ages: 3+

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a member of:

Ballerina Monkey, book review


Title: Ballerina Monkey
by: Nicole Madigan
illustrated by: Joe M Ruiz
Publisher: blOOturtle Publishing

Malik is a typical little monkey – he loves to swing through the jungle trees with his friends. But unlike the other monkeys Malik also wants to dance – if only he knew how! In fact, Malik loves nothing more than watching the beautiful flamingos dance their special ballet dance. But monkeys aren’t supposed to dance – they’re supposed to swing like acrobats through the trees. So when Malik plucks up the courage to ask the flamingos for dancing lessons, the other monkeys laugh and make fun of him. Determined to do what he loves, Malik soon learns the importance of staying true to himself and the joy of following his dreams.

Ballerina Monkey, by author Nicole Madigan, will capture the hearts of children. The story revolves around a monkey named Malik. He loves to roam the jungle on mischievous pursuits like the other monkeys, but he has his heart set on bigger dreams. He wants to dance, just like the flamingos. Malik is ridiculed by the other monkeys who try to break his dream by calling him names and laughing at him. Monkeys just simply don’t dance. But after some imparted wisdom from his mother, Malik doesn’t give up. He digs deep for courage and joins a flamboyance of flamingos to learn to dance with grace and beauty, still to the taunts of the other monkeys.

However, they soon change their tune when the King of the Jungle arrives. The King of the Jungle has never seen a dancing monkey and is most impressed with Malik’s spectacular moves. The troop of monkeys now love Malik’s dancing, and stop teasing him.

Illustrator, Joe Ruiz, has created pictures rich in the colours of the jungle that will have children’s eyes focussed on each of the pages as the story is shared or read independently. Children will easily empathize with Malik’s emotions as they perceive his facial expressions as events occur in the story.

Ballerina Monkey is a wonderful story about never giving up and seeking your dreams, even when your friends don’t support you. It is also a story about the power of the bystander, who, in this story is the King of the Jungle. Just because he approves of Malik’s dancing, the other teasing monkeys then decide that they do too.

Purchase a copy: 

Eco-friendly, Carbon Neutral, Vegan Ink, 100% Recycling paper: trOOblOO

Title: Ballerina Monkey
by: Nicole Madigan
illustrated by: Joe M Ruiz
Publisher: blOOturtle publishing
ISBN: 9780995410640
Category: children 4 – 8
Pages: 32

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Reviewed by Julieann Wallace
(Dip T, B. Ed, Author, Illustrator, Tea Ninja, Cadbury Chocolate Annihilator)

Julieann is a member of: