Craicmonkey’s Storytime Delights #13

Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

Oh No, George!

George is a good dog; at least he tries to be good dog. Yet when Harry leaves George in the house alone, George finds himself easily tempted. Is that a cake on the table? Is that his friend, Cat? Is that some lovely dirt in the flower pot? What will George do?

Harry comes back home to see that George has indulged while he’s been away. Oh no, George! George is upset. We wanted so much to be good; he hoped that he’d be good, but he just wasn’t. What can Harry do with a dog that wants to be good, but can’t seem to help himself? This calls for a little forgiveness and nice walk outside. Yet outside, George is once again faced with so many temptations. What will George do with a second chance?


Anyone who has a dog at home will be able to relate to this endearing story of a dog that should know better, but is, after all, still a dog.

My Rhinoceros by Jon Agee


A boy has just bought himself a pet rhinoceros. That’s right, a rhinoceros. There were many other exotic pets in the shop (not to mention illegal, but let’s ignore that little fact for the sake of the story), but the boy chose the rhinoceros. At first the boy is impressed with the overall temperament of the animal, but he soon finds that his rhinoceros doesn’t do much of anything. It doesn’t fetch; it doesn’t roll over; nothing. He consults a rhinoceros expert who informs him that rhinoceroses can do only two things: pop balloons and poke holes in kites. However, this particular rhinoceros doesn’t even seem to be able to do these two species specific acts. Maybe the boy should have bought the hippopotamus instead. When the boy and his rhinoceros have an unlikely encounter with a couple of bandits fleeing by air, will the boy’s rhinoceros finally have a chance to prove its worth; and what other surprises does it have?

With just the right mix of humour, expressive illustration, and absurdity, Jon Agee has once again written a gem of a book that is as much fun to read as it is to hear.

Ernest by Catherine Rayner


Ernest is a rather large moose

In fact, Ernest is so large that he can’t fit inside the book. No matter how hard he tries to shimmy in forwards or squidge in backwards, Ernest, although determined, become disappointed that he cannot fit. However, this rather large moose has a little friend who might just have a solution.

This is a wonderful story of determination, cooperation, and thinking outside of the box, or in this case, book. Rayer’s use of scale in her illustrations is a perfect tool to help tell the story, and the ending utilizes the physical dimensions of the book to show how a story can go beyond the confines of its cover.


Craicmonkey’s Storytime Delights #11

Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog by Jon Agee

Mr Putney

Mr. Putney has some interesting animal friends. At first glance they seem normal enough, but turn the page and you will find that there’s some wacky word play at hand. No simple gorilla or kangaroo here; instead we have a goruler and a clangaroo. Each animal is introduced by a question and the answer can be found in the abnormal animal’s name.

Some of the puns are a little more vague – the oranguton needs to lose weight and the cramel can squeeze into Mr. Putney’s backpack – so this story would probably work better with an older preschool, kindergarten, or even grade one group.

Get ready for groan, moans, and a chorus of, “Ahhhh-haha!” as Jon Agee once again demonstrates his subtle wit. The children will most likely carry a couple of these away with them and will later regale their parents and friends with, “A traindeer! Get it? Because it’s a reindeer that pulls a train! It’s a traindeer! Hahahahaha!”

The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett

the odd egg

All the birds had laid an egg.

All except for Duck.

Then Duck found an egg!

Duck is very happy now that he has found an egg and can now join the other birds who have successfully laid an egg. That’s right; he has found an egg, which most likely explains why Duck has been unable to lay an egg up to this point, though this fact is never explored. However, the egg that Duck has found is strange and enormous and soon garners jeers and insults from the other birds. Soon after, the eggs, one by one, begin to hatch until only Duck’s egg is left. Yet Duck’s patience and perseverance is rewarded.

Emily Gravett combines her gifted artwork with humour, suspense, and our desire to belong, along with a cheeky sense of reprisal that will delight the children with its surprising and ultimately endearing ending.

Little Owl Lost by Chris Haughton

little owl lost

A baby owl has fallen out of its nest and is now lost in the forest. How will he ever find his mommy? Fear not! Squirrel is confident he can find Little Owl’s mother, he just needs to find out what she looks like. After a couple of mistakes, they find someone who really knows what Mommy Owl looks like and all is well again, until…

This is a simple story with beautiful artwork. The children will have fun calling out as Squirrel reveals who he thinks is Little Owl’s mother, much to the dismay of Little Owl. Chris Haughton masterfully, and subtly, captures the sense of bewilderment in the faces of the misidentified animals. Those of us who grew up with P.D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother will certainly recognise this story.