• Picture Book Snob

Five reasons why we love Monkey Bedtime...

...and why you will too

Monkey Bedtime is about a boy who lets a pygmy marmoset into his house one rainy night after taking pity on the 'tiny little monkey face' that peers through the window. As more primates arrive, there is the inevitable monkeying around and the boy soon begins to panic. How can he get rid of the monkeys and how much trouble is he going to get in on account of the mess they've made? If your little ones go a bit wild at bedtime, you will relate to this story! It sometimes feels like we have a hundred monkeys bounding around when it's time for our kids to brush their teeth and change into pyjamas. And the response the boy gets to telling the monkeys it's time for bed is similar to the reaction when I make the same announcement here.

Children will enjoy the madcap monkey jumble and relate to the injustice of being blamed for something they didn't do. Monkey Bedtime is a delightful and dynamic explosion of fun that allows children to explore mess-making from a safe distance. Written by Alex English and illustrated by Pauline Gregory, Monkey Bedtime was published by Faber in May 2022. There are lots of reasons to love this book – here are our top five... It's funny

Monkeys always allow so much potential for chaos and hilarity and these primates do not disappoint! In addition to the monkey's antics, their facial expressions, and those of the poor dog, are priceless too. I also love how the mother, who also has a very small baby to take care of, doesn't realise what's going on (I think we've all been that distracted when looking after a newborn). This introduces even more comedy too as it lets the reader in on a joke.

It has fantastic illustrations The illustrations are incredibly animated and vividly bring the characters and their personalities to life. Though there are many monkeys, they're all distinct from one another and have their own particular brand of bedlam. My girls are especially fond of the lipstick-loving gibbon the bubble-burping tamarin and the macaque who likes to sport underwear on its head. It's a delight to read aloud Rhyming books - when done well - are as entertaining for the person reciting them as they are for their audience. Alex English's jaunty rhyming text is flawless, perfectly complements the story's lively monkeys and enriches the reading experience.

It's inclusive

This is a one-parent family. We see a photo of someone who might be the children's father but he's not in the group photo with the mother and her two kids. It's unclear whether this is on account of a separation or a death and this is left for the reader to decide. It's wonderful to have stories that reflect different families so that all children can see themselves and their circumstances in the books they are reading. The mother in the story also appears to be wearing hearing aids, which is only the second time I've seen this in a picture book. It's educational We've learned the names of so many different monkey breeds and what they look like too! Even though there's plenty of mayhem and mischief, this story models good behaviour and teaches us that no matter how big a mess we make, we can always clean it up.

About the author

Alex English is a children's author, a graduate of the Bath Spa University MA in Writing for Young People and a SCBWI volunteer. She currently lives with her family just outside Paris. Alex is also the author of a middle-grade series called Sky Pirates, and her picture books include Stop that Dinosaur, Yuk Said the Yak, Pirates Don't Drive Diggers and Mine Mine Mine Said the Porcupine. Read more about Alex and her work on her website: www.alexenglish.co.uk


About the illustrator Pauline Gregory is a Devon-based illustrator living by the sea who specialises in children's literature. Following her passion, Pauline graduated from Plymouth College of Art with a First Class Honours, BA in illustration. She takes inspiration from the funny and endearing things animals and people do every day, as well as the superb imaginations that children have. Pauline works with traditional materials to create quirky illustrations with humour and charm.

Monkey Bedtime was published by Faber in May 2022 - see this book on the publisher's website Thanks so much to the lovely people in Faber for sharing this book with us - all opinions expressed are our own.