Matthew laughs himself silly one day as he watches the banana-crazy monkeys at the Metro Zoo. That evening, bananas become Matthew's favorite food -- and he refuses to eat anything else! Over the next two weeks, he eats so many bananas that he starts to feel funny. He itches and scratches and itches and scratches until ? KABLOOEY! Suddenly, Matthew is swinging from trees and shinnying up flagpoles! His parents try everything to stop his monkey business -- doctors, veterinarians, herbalists, chiropractors, animal trainers, psychiatrists and even a psychic. But nothing seems to work. Has Matthew gone completely bananas?
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Story Time Suggestions for The Boy Who Loved Bananas
Matthew loved the elephants and he loved the crocodiles. He loved the giraffes and he loved the Polar Bears. But of all the animals in the Metro Zoo, Matthew loved the monkeys the most.
Matthew laughed himself silly when he watched the monkeys at feeding time. They would climb and tumble, wrestle and swing. And while they played, they would devour dozens of ripe bananas.
From the opening lines of Elliott's picturebook, the scenario that Matthew is a monkey lover is set. Matthew adores these banana crazy animals whose influence on him leads him to the strange behavior of a "banana crazy" boy. He eats only foods containing bananas, such as banana chips, banana pie, banana pudding - well, you get the idea! After two weeks, the result is a real transformation, "Kablooey"! In fact, Matthew transmogrifies into a monkey before the readers' eyes! Now the problem is not just his diet; it's his behavior as well that prompts his parents to try anything to stop the monkey business - doctors, veterinarians, herbalists, animal trainers and even a psychic. It is only after another visit to the Zoo and Matthew's fascination with the elephant and its diet that Matthew' s weird looks and behavior are predictably altered.
The use of exaggerated wry humour and "over the top" storytelling, along with repetition, is reminiscent of Munsch stories. Although this story is listed as suitable for pre-school to grade 2, the introduction of some higher level vocabulary, and, in particular, the use of the word, "transmogrify" might make one suspect of the chosen audience. But this word, defined as "to change or alter greatly and often with humorous results," works in this book, as do other interesting descriptive adjectives, adverbs and even nouns because they are explained in context and pictures.
Both author and illustrator have worked in the animation industry, and their experience is reflected in the total book design of an animated text and illustrations which shows a variety in layout. The pen and watercolour artwork is bright, colourful and playful, bringing out the silliness and humour. The energy of the cartoon-like drawings are in keeping with the lighthearted, comical writing style.
The Boy Who Loved Bananas could be a fun read-aloud, especially when a young one becomes fixated on a particular food.
Reesa Cohen is an Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.
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This is pure fun for storytime. When Matthew visits the Metro Zoo, he loves to watch the monkeys. He wonders why they eat so many bananas. As an experiment, Matthew decides that he will eat only bananas – morning, noon and night. He persists for days and days until, ‘Kablooey!’ Matthew changes into a playful monkey. Wanting their little boy back, Matthew’s parents try everything. Alas, Matthew likes things the way they are and soon has his classmates and principal chomping bananas. At last, after admiring an African elephant at the zoo, Matthew decides he would like to change his menu – to peanuts! The Boy Who Loved Bananas won Ontario’s 2006 Blue Spruce Award. It is boisterous fun for children aged three to seven years.
by Carolyn Hart in Wonderful Picture Books
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PreSchool-Grade 2–When young Matthew visits the zoo, he sees monkeys that are crazy about bananas and decides to eat nothing but bananas and banana products, much to the dismay of his concerned parents. After consuming massive quantities of the fruit, he develops an itch and morphs into a monkey. All of the specialists his parents send him to conclude the same thing: Matthew "will stop being a monkey when he wants to stop being a monkey." Soon his classmates and even his principal are in on the act, devouring bananas with the hope that they, too, might experience a transformation. Then, Matthew revisits the zoo and discovers a new favorite animal: a peanut-eating elephant. Krystoforski's pen-and-watercolor illustrations amplify the silliness of the story with colorful cartoon-style characters and amusing background details. Elliott's straightforward text with its repetitive elements makes this an upbeat and child-pleasing choice, especially for read-alouds. Young audiences will be immensely satisfied with the final double-page illustration and its wordless conclusion.
– Carol L. MacKay, Camrose Public Library, Alberta, Canada
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Elliott’s straightforward text with its repetitive elements makes this an upbeat and child-pleasing choice, especially for read-alouds. Young audiences will be immensely satisfied with the final double-page illustration and its wordless conclusion.
(School Library Journal )
... captures well the book’s theme of the pleasures of simple goofiness
(Book Review Digest )