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Sneezing monkeys

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Speaking of google searches, do NOT look up “do monkeys sneeze.” You’ll turn up one sexually strange link and one weird picture. Fine, I’ll share the picture (from bbc news). Sometimes my daughter and I pretend to take each other’s noses. Myanmar monkeys could not play this game (that or they did, and played it too well). Sneezing monkeys get into a lot of trouble in books; sneezes cause monkeys to make a mess and almost wake up Mama when they are making cakes and to disrupt their monkey bridges (with a wet lion as a result, who knows what happens next! It may be far worse than messed up cake). If I only acquired monkey knowledge from my daughter’s books I would think crocodiles and sneezes were the two biggest dangers facing monkeys.

Image from The Monkey Bridge (story by Joy Cowley, illustrations by Susan Moxley)

Good little monkey?

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I’ve also mentioned my daughter’s love of monkeys (in addition to monkeys she loves dogs, one of her first words, and lions and bears and, okay all stuffed animals, make that all animals). As you can probably guess we often read books about that famous monkey, Curious George. A fair number of the more recent Curious George books follow this pattern: George is a good little monkey and always very curious. The man in the yellow hat tells George not to do something. George does it. Chaos. Then something wonderful happens because of the chaos. So it turns out to be good that George didn’t listen and the world is made better because of it. I fully support curiosity, but also think George should listen to the man in the yellow hat, he really does know what is best, George. And, George, to be completely honest — I don’t understand why you are described as good. Good as in you don’t bite people? Good as in inherently good in your monkey soul? Because you are kind of naughty. I have a vague impulse to go through the Curious George books of this type and at least change that first “and” to a “but,” or just add a “not.” George was a good little monkey, but always very curious. George was not a good little monkey and always very curious. I restrain myself because I don’t want my daughter to think drawing on books is okay (generally, there are exceptions of course), but I also don’t want her to think not listening to me is okay and will ultimately make the world a better place. Not reading the books at all is not an option, since my daughter loves them, which brings us full circle back to the beginning of this post and the intensity of her monkey love. The Curious George book pictured is Margret & H. A. Rey’s Curious George Takes a Train (illustrated in the style of H.A. Rey by Martha Weston). If you want to know what sort of trouble George got up to in the train station you’ll have to check it out yourself.