#PPBF – Count the Monkeys

Today is Friday – I have a children’s book review to add to the Perfect Picture Book resource list that author Susanna Leonard Hill is building on her blog. For more wonderful reviews from authors, educators and others who contributed today, please go here.

Counting books are always fun – and Mac Barnett and Kevin Cornell make a great author/illustrator team. I’m thinking this was already done recently for PPBF, but it’s not on the resource list, so I’m adding it just in case.



Written by Mac Barnett

Illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (2011)

Ages: 3 and up


Counting, getting along with others, animals

Opening Lines:

“Hey kids! Time to count the monkeys! It’s fun. It’s easy. All you have to do is turn the page…and Count The Monkeys.”


From Booklist review: “Although counting books may tire out jaded grown-ups, a good one will always get youngsters excitedly running through their numbers. Barnett begins with a call: “Hey, kids! Time to count the monkeys!” But his simians won’t show, having been scared off. So who scared them off? Maybe those two mongooses? Or those three crocodiles? Barnett instructs readers to ward off each group of beasts with various techniques. For example, on a page featuring four grizzly bears, the instructions say, “Put your arms above your head! Make a loud roar! Bang together some pots and pans, if you have them.” (This isn’t a book to read during quiet time.) Besides the chance to make noise, kids will adore Cornell’s broadly exaggerated animals, from the toothy monkey grins to the round bottoms of bearded lumberjacks. The whole package has a Saturday-morning-cartoon cheerfulness. And when the monkeys still haven’t appeared at the purported end, never fear. The last spread will keep counters content for a good long while. Adult patience advised.”


Why  I like this book:

  • Great INTERACTIVE read-aloud for younger children…older kids will enjoy reading it themselves
  • Don’t worry about finding turn-the-page excitement (although you will find that as well)…at the end of just about every page, the reader is instructed to – TURN THE PAGE.
  • Hilarious illustrations – the animals’ faces are so very expressive!

How a parent can use this book:

  • Great read-aloud and counting book
  • Opportunity for discussion about how size is not always important (little bees can scare away big bears)
  • Ask child what happened to the bag-pipe playing rhinos…what could have scared them away?

Related Activities:



You will need: Construction paper or plain white copy paper, markers, magazines, scissors, glue

  1. Fold 6 sheets of paper in half and staple at the crease.
  2. Let your child decorate the cover.
  3. Open the book and help your child number each page from 1-10.
  4. Look through magazines or catalogs – cut out 1 of something, 2 of something else, and so on.
  5. Paste one dog (or whatever your child cut out for one) on the first page.
  6. Continue pasting items on each numbered page.

Here are some detailed instructions book-making instructions: http://www.education.com/activity/article/countingbook_kindergarten/

Here are many more types of books your child can make: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/books/howmany/

Here is a list of 19 of the best counting books for kids: http://crystalandcomp.com/2013/05/best-childrens-books-19-counting-books-for-toddlers-preschoolers-and-young-learners/

With the New Year, we often make resolutions and set goals for ourselves. If you have young kids at home, what goals do you have for each day for them? Are you setting aside some time for reading and crafting?

Spending time with our kids can be lots of fun – and they grow up so quickly – they may not always want to sit and play with you (although I’m sure that is hard to believe – I can remember saying, after hearing my children call for ‘MOMMY!’ over and over again, “I think I will change my name!”

If you are looking for a great resource book that provides dozens and dozens of quick and easy crafts and other activities for young kids, please check out my Show Me How book.

jeremy about to taste raw egg

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on January 10, 2014, in Counting books, Crafting with Kids, Math Skills for Kids, Perfect Picture Book Friday and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. What a clever way to entertain and teach! I like that the book is so interactive. I don’t remember this book being reviewed. Great activities.


  2. Of course we liked this book for the same reasons! I’d like to come up with an idea as energetic as this one as well!


  3. I don’t think we have had this before, Vivian, and it is a terrific addition. It looks a whole lot of fun.


  4. I love books that include standing and clapping and banging pots… This sounds like a lot of fun.


  5. The little boy down the street LOVES this book. He carries it in his pack-pack (backpack) and uses it to prove he can count!


  6. Another very clever counting book. Good one, Vivian!


  7. I read this book with my kids a few days ago and they loved it! We’re fans of Mac Barnett and love his collaboration with Adam Rex in Chloe and the Lion. If you haven’t read it, you should, it’s hilarious. My boys love the interactive aspect of Count the Monkeys. Several picture book ideas I have are very interactive and that’s their favorites. Who said reading had to be boring? So much fun indeed!


  8. That Mac Barnett is sure one crazy guy!! I love clap your hand kind of books! I’ll have to find this one! Thanks!


  9. This really is a perfect counting book. We checked it out of the library several weeks ago, then renewed, then I had to remove it from the house without Enzo looking. He LOVED it. It’s fun to see an interactive book. I love apps, but I also love ones like this.


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  1. Pingback: Weekly Round-Up of Kid Lit Reviews and Posts: Week #1 | Mother Daughter Book Reviews

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