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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

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  656 Ratings  ·  152 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
Jun 13, 2010 Lisa Vegan rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 15, 2010 Luann rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 14, 2009 Betsy rated it really liked it
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
Jun 28, 2011 Ann rated it really liked it
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
May 06, 2016 Mariah rated it really liked it
This book is really interesting. It talks about all these different, random animals that can kill you and how they can kill you. I learned so much.
Mar 07, 2012 Kathryn rated it really liked it
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
Nov 14, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it
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
Dec 05, 2011 Amy rated it really liked it
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
Oct 23, 2009 Rita rated it it was amazing
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
Tricia Douglas
Oct 14, 2012 Tricia Douglas rated it it was amazing
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.
Meghan Molloy
Feb 27, 2017 Meghan Molloy rated it really liked it
Awards the book has received (if any):
o Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award Nominee for Non-Fiction (2011)
o Society of Illustrators Original Art Show
o Junior Library Guild Selection 2009 Selection

Appropriate grade level(s):1st grade-5th grade

Original 3-line summary: This non-fiction book gives advice on what animals people should not interact with due to the animals non-obvious dangers. The animals that are shown throughout the book are not traditional animals children would be familiar with. T
Jan 09, 2017 Katherine rated it did not like it
I didn't really care for this book.
Oct 05, 2016 Alison rated it did not like it
I study monkeys. And it's true you shouldn't smile at one. But geez this book is a buzzkill. Too much for a picture book, in my opinion!
April Dawn
Oct 12, 2013 April Dawn rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 27, 2014 Rhayne rated it liked it
When searching for informational picture book’s I came across Never Smile at a Monkey by Steve Jenkins. At first I was somewhat skeptical of the book as it contained the defense mechanism of seventeen animals, some of which were explained in a slightly graphic way, but I still decided to give the book a try. After inspecting the book however, my feelings began to change as I realized this book could be used as a viable resource for both parents and teachers. Children often react on impulse, gett ...more
Philip Carlson
Dec 03, 2014 Philip Carlson rated it liked it
Never Smile at a Monkey is a cleverly written book identifying the interesting ways animals have adapted to deal with threatening situations. While it may be common sense to leave dangerous animals alone like lions, tigers, and bears, there are other unsuspecting animals that have developed harmful ways of dealing with predators. This book teaches the reader about such organisms as the cane toad, the cassowary, and the electric caterpillar, and presents their defenses in rhythmic fashion like " ...more
Feb 20, 2017 Gail rated it it was amazing
I read a book each week for mentor sentence review. After reading the book, we analyze a sentence for parts of speech, sentence structure, and other things. Generally, I have read books that tell a story or some have been historical in nature. This was the first one, I wasn't sure if my students would like it. Each animal is drawn and then it tells how dangerous they can be. My fourth graders knew some of them, but were very drawn to the facts in this book. It was fun to relate things back to th ...more
Sep 07, 2012 Mrs.Charles rated it liked it
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
Kieana Smith
Mar 19, 2015 Kieana Smith marked it as to-read
Never Smile at a monkey by Steve Jenkins is an attention grabber, just from the title it enlightens the curiosity of readers to explore this informational text! Elaborating on multiple facts about mammals, amphibians, and reptiles Steve jobs explores the wildlife most dangerous creatures and why they are fatal! The striking images of each animal including the unique soft pastel colors used to show the texture of each animal is amazing, I can see how any 2nd – fifth grader would want to find out ...more
Hailey Indiere
May 03, 2015 Hailey Indiere rated it really liked it
Never Smile at a Monkey (2009) by Steve Jenkins

This book covers eighteen animals, explaining what not to and what you should never do to the specific animal and why to do so would be dangerous. The book goes over a variety of animals from a platypus, to a cone shell, and even a hippopotamus. The book contains a section at the end that gives a more in depth description and information, for each animal described in the earlier section of the book.
• This book is a fun way to teach kid
Mar 03, 2011 Sara rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 25, 2015 Tanya rated it really liked it
Shelves: info-texts
Try to show "Never Smile at a Monkey" to children and just read the title, and you'll see how it will capture young readers' attention immediately! This book is a wonderful informational book for children, filled with factual information about what you should never do if you encounter specific animals. Learn why petting a platypus, collecting a cone shell, smiling at a monkey, and other behaviors during animal encounters can be hazardous. This book is a great book for independent reading for gra ...more
Katie Hanrahan
Nov 24, 2014 Katie Hanrahan rated it it was amazing
Learn about the secret dangers of seemingly harmless animals in Never Smile at a Monkey by Steve Jenkins. Readers learn about many different animals and the methods they have to protect themselves from threats, including humans. Who knew you should never pet a platypus?

This book is an informational text because it provides readers with new information on animals. The author also included an appendix at the end of the book for readers to learn more about the animals discussed throughout the book.
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
Jake Adelstein
Nov 12, 2014 Jake Adelstein rated it really liked it
The blurb says its all: " 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 prey, which can make them unexpectedly hazardous to your health."
I've always wanted to turn this boo
Nov 28, 2014 Rachel rated it liked it
Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember by Steve Jenkins was a super informative and also a little bit scary book to read! This book was all about the animals out there that no one expects to be dangerous but if you do something wrong, they will attack! This book warns its readers about the animals out there that are in fact, more dangerous than they look. Each animal gets 1 to 2 pages to explain about what to avoid doing to each seemingly harmless animal.

Did you know
Madison Jones
Dec 02, 2014 Madison Jones rated it liked it
Jenkins’s signature cut-and-torn paper collages make the animals look three-dimensional, as if we could reach out and touch them. After reading this book — subtitled “and 17 other important things to remember” — you won’t reach out to any of these. Jenkins’s message is that real animals must be dealt with in ways that acknowledge how they behave. So, never smile at a monkey, who might take a show of teeth as aggression and respond with equal aggression. Never pet a platypus, never bother a blue- ...more
Makayla Boysen
Oct 16, 2016 Makayla Boysen rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, animals
Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember, is a very cute and interesting book that contains very informative and real life advice. The book lists different animals who have dangerous things about them, and gives the readers specific warnings and ways to avoid the animal’s dangerous ways. It can be very simple advice like never smile at monkey, or something witty like never pet a platypus. Regardless of the advice given, it is all based upon facts. At the end of Jenkin’s ...more
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