Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Author and Illustrator:
Bethany Berndt Shackelford
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
“Secret Monkey Tip: Once you master the sock monkey manners, you will have lots of marvelous playdates!” Bethany Berndt Shackelford writes in her children’s book, Sock Monkey Manners for Kids: 6 Tips for Marvelous Playdates.
This small, square hardbound book containing thirty-two pages targets preschool to early elementary school aged children who like sock monkey puppets. With no scary scenes, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated words. Having very simplistic, colorful drawings on every page, author and illustrator Shackelford uses lots of fun primates against red and white backgrounds.
Not written as a story but a list of six manners to learn, the concept is to give a negative action of a sock monkey, followed by a correct, positive approach to remedy the situation. All six manners start with the letter “M” and include a Bible verse with a secret tip.
The six simple tips to use when children have playdates are: modify by making minor changes, use manners when speaking, serve munchies as a good host or hostess, motivate friends to keep trying, mediate when a compromise is needed, and mingle to find others’ interests.
With helpful sock monkeys such as Molly, Mark, Max, Maddy, Marius, Moe, Melvin, Milo, Maggie, and Macy, readers will enjoy the different clothing, accessories, and expressions the animals have to support good manners.
One example is Tip #3 when Max is hungry and Maddy asks her mom for something to eat. The Bible verse given is “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling,” from I Peter 4:9. Maddy shares a healthy snack of celery with almond butter. Max likes it so much, he asks Maddy to have her mom write down the recipe. The secret tip is to try apple slices with cinnamon for a sweet treat.
The ending includes step-by-step instructions with drawings on how to make a sock monkey. The project may be more complicated for beginners or need parental supervision.
As a gift to a creative child or a rainy-day resource, this is an easy and fun way to promote good manners when meeting or playing with other children or adults. It also reminds readers that God’s Word encourages being respectful of others.
Thanks to Harvest House Publishers for furnishing this book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.