Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember
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Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  427 ratings  ·  101 reviews
When it comes to wild animals, everyone knows that there are certain things you just don’t do. It's clearly a bad idea to tease a tiger, pull a python's tail, or bother a black widow spider. But do you know how dangerous it can be to pet a platypus, collect a cone shell, or touch a tang fish? Some creatures have developed unusual ways of protecting themselves or catching p...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 19th 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Lisa Vegan
Sep 26, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: boys and girls who enjoy animals, nature, science, and more than a touch of the macabre
Recommended to Lisa by: Chandra
I love Steve Jenkins; books!

This is a fun (and potentially scary) science/nature book for school aged kids.

There is a short introduction, then in one or two pages each it covers 18 animals with an illustration and a short paragraph about what not to do and why to do so would be dangerous, and then there’s a section at the end, also with illustrations, that gives somewhat more in depth information for each animal described in the earlier section of the book. At the end, there’s a short for furth...more
Sep 17, 2010 Luann rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Luann by: Chandra
Did you know that hippos kill more people in Africa than any other wild animal? That is why you should never harass a hippopotamus! Did you know that the spitting cobra can spit its venom accurately for more than eight feet, and it aims for the eyes? That is why you should never stare at a spitting cobra!

Cool, huh? I loved learning these and other facts while reading this great book by Steve Jenkins. This is another book he has written for older children, but in this one he resolved my one comp...more
Ladies and gentlemen do you know what your children desire? What they really want and so often are unable to attain? Practical advice. I don’t mean the kind of standard parlor fare they hear so often every day (“Don’t chew with your mouth open”, “Don’t poke the baby”, “Don’t attempt asbestos removal on your own”, etc.). I'm talking about practical advice for surviving in the wild. Here’s an example. You’re in a boat, floating down the Nile, and you suddenly find yourself facing a hippo. What, in...more
As a kid I probably would have loved this. I adored anything having to do with "fastest" "largest" "slowest" "strongest" etc. So, how cool to have a book about 18 dangerous (and possibly deadly) creatures.

Things I liked:
The book doesn't just focus on "typical" animals. Meaning, we learn about the cone shell, the cane toad and the electric caterpillar. And, of the more familiar animals, we get specifics: instead of just a snake, instead of just a cobra, it's a spitting cobra. Instead of just jell...more
I'm giving this four stars because I think it is well done, although I didn't particularly like it myself. I think that, for some kids, this will be a really fun and interesting way to learn about different creatures. I know there is appeal in learning about dangerous animals, and what makes them dangerous. I appreciate that Jenkins focused on how these are adaptation for the animals to survive in the wild and that most of them are not viscous because they are "bad" or "monsters". He writes in a...more
Grade/interest level: Middle school (6th-7th)
Reading level: Fountas and Pinnell, W,X,Y
Lexile: 920
Genre: Picture, informational, non-fiction

This is an information book about a few different types of animals people would not normally expect to be dangerous and the actions that antagonize them. It explains how a bunch of potentially harmless animals such as a platypus, a caterpillar and a toad could be harmless to humans. This is a picture book, which is a different, potentially more exciting form...more
My niece liked Never Smile at a Monkey more than my nephew did. She liked that it told you all kinds of facts about animals that pertained to how they protect themselves, and this *was* interesting and educational, even for me. I had no idea that platypuses have poisonous spines on their back legs!

Never Smile at a Monkey was a bit intense for my little nephew, though. Many of the paragraphs about the animals ended by implanting the idea of "serious injury, or even death to humans," and this was...more
I'm actually waiting for this book to be delivered to my library from the MN-Link intra-library system and honestly, I can't wait. I seriously cannot wait. I am terrified that between now and when it arrives I will come across a platypus or cone shell or some other animal and do exactly the wrong thing and be killed within moments. I'm not sure how we all live our lives without this book.

Katie is doing this assignment in her class called Read-O. It's like Bingo but with books. There's a chart wi...more
Tricia Douglas
Another great book by Steve Jenkins with information and illustrations that will intrique both children and adults. This book tells about how animals protect themselves and what you should do if you come face to face with one of these animals. For instance - do you know why you should never pet a platypus or corner a cassowary or smile at a monkey? Jenkins' answers and explanations are short and to the point and very interesting. Additional information at the end of the book gives more informati...more
Funny, alarming, great to look at - everything you expect from Steve Jenkins. My kids sat and made a list of Places Not to Go based on the habitats of the bad-tempered, venomous, sharp-featured, combative, paranoid, and/or fiercely territorial beasts of this book. Why the hell is there a 2-inch-long caterpillar that can KILL a human? I'm asking! Where's the evolutionary advantage in that?

1. It's Steve Jenkins. I could stop there, but I won't.

Alliteration. Fantastic vocabulary. Amazing and wonderful animal facts. Put this in the hands of your school's Gifted Teacher, and he or she will love you. Forever. I promise.
Never Smile At A Monkey is one of the best and most unique nonfiction obtuse books I have ever come across.

My husband and I actually ended up reading it together and being totally absorbed by it. I am looking forward to sharing it with both my children and the 3rd & 4th Grade classrooms in which I read aloud weekly.

Each page tells of an animal we might not think of as dangerous or deadly and gives a creative--but absolutely accurate-- example of a behavior which is NOT a good idea near that...more
I feel as though every review I leave for a Steve Jenkins book is just a copy of the whatever I read just before... but he is that consistent. This artist is brilliant at picking subjects that awe and intrigue young minds and stretch them to think in excited and curious ways. Whether is merely the illustrator or the collaborative writer and illustrator, his books grab our attention, feed our curiosity and launch conversation and further reading. Thanks to Jenkins, my not quite 4 year old is gett...more
Jenkins, Steve. 2009. NEVER SMILE AT A MONKEY. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Books. ISBN 9780618966202.

Most people would probably never think it would be dangerous to collect cone shells. Did you know that if you smile at a monkey, they interpret that as you being combative? Jenkins brings us into the world of 18 animals, some dangerous some you always thought were harmless. Jenkins creates a concept book around the simple topic of dangerous animals you may not have sus...more
April Dawn
Book Title: Never Smile at a Monkey*

Short Description of the Book: This book uses a list format of things to NEVER do with wild animals. Each page begins with the warning of something to never do and is followed with the facts supporting why one should never do this thing. I think that my students would enjoy this book because it is a different format than anything that we have ever read before, and they love to make lists.

FOCUS: Features I would Use in a Mini-Lesson:
1-Informational Text Struc...more
A fabulous addition to Steve Jenkins cut-paper collage collection. In this wonderful book, readers are introduced to 18 dangerous animals that kids may never have considered. Children will enjoy learning little known facts like the existence of poisonous barbs on a platypus' back feet.

I've always loved Steve Jenkins artwork as his illustrations are very understandable by kids. They don't look like alien creatures.
I love Steve Jenkins' amazing paper collage work!

This is a great non-fiction picture book that includes interesting facts about animals that you might not know could harm you. Animals included aren't all your typical predators either. Here, showcased dangerous animals include the platypus (the only poisonous mammal), cone shells, hippos (which kill more people in Africa than any other animal!), jellyfish, stingrays, cane toad, puffer fish, bear cub (okay, this is one we would anticipate...), sp...more
May 06, 2013 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We've read several books by Steve Jenkins recently and we have enjoyed his style of combining short, factual bits of information with colorful, mixed-media illustrations.

This book offers unique trivia about eighteen different animals, with tips about what not to do around them. The tips are fascinating, but also helpful safety precautions, in case a person ever comes across these creatures.

While many of the animals are quite exotic, I was a bit nostalgic about the section on the blue-ringed oc...more
Natalie O'neill
This is a book that tells you what not to do when you encounter specific wild animals. It is a good learning tool because it talks about animal behavior that you probably would not expect. The title itself would also be good to point out during a writer’s workshop. It is very creative, but fits perfectly with the text.
Krista Vogt
This was a great picture book that illustrates through wonderful pictures different wild animals and tells what one should not do if they were to encounter the wild animal. Each page has information of the wild animal and tells what not to do to them. Like “Never Smile At a Monkey” or “Never pet a Platypus” (Jenkins). He shows the animals through exaggerated pictures.
The main point of the book is to give readers knowledge of the wild animal and what not to do around the different wild animals....more
Highly recommended for the reader (of any age) who enjoys beautiful art combined with useful information. If you happen to be the sort of person fascinated by venomous platypuses, well then, this is your book. A hit with me and with my non-fiction-loving ten-year-old.

Library copy.
I thought this book was pretty funny. I love the illustrations especially the monkey's face. All i could think about was "The planet of the Apes". LOL This would be another great book to identify animals in.
Animals are fascinating creatures that have captivated human curiosity since the beginning of mankind. Some species require little knowledge to understand they pose a serious danger. No one would be foolish enough to pull a tiger tale or hug an adult polar bear (at least you would hope not). Other animals however are a more desecrate threat, several of which may surprise you. Steve Jenkins did a fantastic job in both the illustrations and information covering eighteen of these animals and their...more
Most people know that you should never pet a rattlesnake or tease a tiger, but did you know that you should also never confront a kangaroo or clutch a cane toad?! This fascinating book tells us all about different animals and creatures that are unexpectedly dangerous. Learn all about the weapons they use to survive and protect themselves from predators. Kids will be enthralled as they discover more about the animal kingdom in this dynamic picture book. Also included at the back is a small blurb...more
Janel C.
A little scary, but the kids love it and we learned lots of new things to be afraid of.

Some animals you know are dangerous--a porcupine, for instance. Nobody has to tell you to watch out for those prickly spines. But some animals can be dangerous and not obvious about it. Can anybody figure out why this cane toad or puffer fish could be dangerous? [turn to marked page--read each one after kids guess.] To find out more deadly facts like that, read "Never Smile at a Monkey" by Steve Jenkins--and you'll have to read all the way to the end to find out why you shouldn't smile...more
Apr 16, 2010 Becky rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 1st grade and up
This book is SO COOL. The cut-paper illustrations are gorgeous, the design is superb, and the information is fascinating and terrifying. I am now more scared of dangerous animals than I ever was before. Especially the box jellyfish.

If I'd had this book last year, I wouldn't have lost that bet about whether a platypus is poisonous. Knowledge is power!

Any of Steve Jenkins' books would make great gift books. I love Elizabeth Bird's idea about booktalking this by saying "This book could save your li...more
Jason Sharp
This is a middle school friendly survival guide for dealing with wild animals. The artwork is rather simple and not particularly engaging (although that cover with the frowning monkey on the front and angry monkey on the back is amazing).

Interesting facts:
Platypuses are poisonous so don't touch them!
Cone Shell can launch poisonous barbs like harpoons.
Cobras can accurately spit venom more than 8 feet and aims for the eyes.
Kangaroos can kick a person hard enough to cave in their chest.
Kimberly Caldwell
Information - 2009 "Never pet a playtypus." In a picture book format, this book provides information on animals/creature you don't want to come in contact with, all starting with, "Never ..." The thing I like most about this text, is that it provides a couple of attention getting facts about each animal, and then in the back, goes into more detail about each one. I know my third graders would find this book appealing, and would anxiously await the opportunity to share these facts with others.
Sep 25, 2012 Carrie added it
I thought this book should have been aimed at older children. It was very upfront with strong words like death. Little children, in my opinion should not learn these words until they experience a death or tragedy. The book does use words that are clever like a spitting cobra instead of just saying a cobra. Most of the animals looked cute and not scary, but the title of the books says otherwise. It teaches children to be careful of their surroundings if they ever encounter a dangerous animal.
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