Illustrated by Lee Christiansen
Greenwillow Books, 2002
$15.95 then, $17.99 now
For: pre K - 4th grade
Lots and lots and even more lots to say about his book. The story, the writing, the illustrations, are all wonderful. There is only one teeny-tiny weakness for me, and I bet if I read it a fourth and fifth time that won't appear a weakness anymore. More on that in a minute.
The story: Monkeys (apparently they are vervet monkeys) wait at a water hole as many animals who live with them in the East African savannah approach for their own drinks. We see hippos, zebras, a crocodile, a lion, elephants, and even a giraffe take their turns soothing their thirst.
Figurative language: Wow. Lots. And lots. And lots more:
"morning slinks onto the savannah"
"the silence pokes monkey's ear"
"the sun cartwheels slowly up the sky"
"sun climbs the sky like an acrobat" (throw in a simile!)
"sun bristles, bright and round"
"sun somersaults down the sky"
"evening slinks across the savannah"
Alliteration here and there:
"heat sizzles the savannah, heavy on the monkey fur."
talking about a crocodile: "the log sinks back and waits"
Snazzy words, including great verbs:
slinks, plops, grunts, foraging, nibble, prance, parched, splay...
The illustrations: Lovely. Just lovely. We are taken to the savannah. There's no white at all, just lovely scenery completely covering the page. Love it.
My only negative view: the rhyming here and there is a bit to haphazard for me. Almost like it's thrown in, and in places forced into rhyming when it's not really a rhyme. Oh well. The rest of the book certainly makes up for it. Give me more of these Kurtz siblings and Mr. Christiansen's artwork!