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cover image of the book, The Boy Who Loved Bananas, written by George Elliott

Written by George Elliott
Hardcover: 32 pages
Illustrated by Andrej Krystoforski
Published in 2005 by Kids Can Press

2006 winner "Great Book" of the year by Canadian Toy Testing Council
2006 winner Blue Spruce Award, also selected for best illustrations by Embracing the Child
Blue Spruce Award Winner for The Boy Who Loved Bananas written by George Elliott  Canadian Toy Testing Council Great Books Award for The Boy Who Loved Bananas, Written by George Elliott

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.
The Boy who Loved Bananas - Written by George Elliott The Boy who Loved Bananas - Written by George Elliott The Boy who Loved Bananas - Written by George Elliott The Boy who Loved Bananas - Written by George Elliott The Boy who Loved Bananas - Written by George Elliott

Book Reviews

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.
Recommended.

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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 )

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An Aardvark Flew an Airplane... and Other Silly Alphabet Rhymes - written by George Elliott

Written by George Elliott under the pseudonym David Dodson
Hardcover: 32 pages
Illustrated by Roy Candie
Published in 2000 by Little Thinker Books

Next to Dr. Seuss' ABC book this book is the whackiest alphabet book ever published! Told in a delightful, whimsical rhyme An aardvark flew an airplane... introduces children to the alphabet with words and pictures that not only entertain but challenge the reader. Both children and parents will delight in "tongue-twisting" verse, as well as, trying to find all the words in each "whacky" illustration!

A marvelous introduction to the world of letters and words!

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An aardvark flew an airplane with an acrobatic ape.
A beaver built a bamboo boat with bubblegum and tape.
A crocodile charmed cobras in a camel caravan.
A duck drove dripping dolphins past a dog deliveryman.
An Aardvark Flew an Airplane... and Other Silly Alphabet Rhymes An Aardvark Flew an Airplane... and Other Silly Alphabet Rhymes An Aardvark Flew an Airplane... and Other Silly Alphabet Rhymes An Aardvark Flew an Airplane... and Other Silly Alphabet Rhymes An Aardvark Flew an Airplane... and Other Silly Alphabet Rhymes An Aardvark Flew an Airplane... and Other Silly Alphabet Rhymes

Book Reviews

First-time children's author David Dadson has done a terrific job with his use of rhyme, and the text rips off the tongue. In addition to these delightful silly alphabet rhymes, each page includes upper and lower case examples of the letter with a list of objects which can be found in the picture. Illustrator Roy Condy's fun, colorful illustrations strongly support the text. This book will provide hours of delight as the reader ties to locate all of the items listed and finds even more that are not. The "Can You Find These Words Too" page at the back of the book is great and will give the reader lots of hints. My favorite letter is B, and the illustration includes the banner reading, "Bogwater Blues Band Bi-annual Barbecue." Well, it's a close call with the letter P whose illustration includes a "No Partaking of Pickles Please" poster which is beside the poster that reads, "No Poster Posting on the Premises." This entertaining and interactive picture book will result in gales of laughter; adults might even get the giggles. Readers will definitely increase their word building skills and learn a lot of new words. I now know what an ibex is. You'll have to read the book to find out!

Highly Recommended.

Catherine Hoyt is the Curator of the Eileen Wallace Children's Literature Collection at the University of New Brunswick.
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23
Barker McGee - Written by George Elliott

Written by George Elliott
Hardcover: 32 pages
Illustrated by Thomas Reid
Published in 2000 by Little Thinker Books

Barker McGee is a mean old dogfish that hates everything and everyone. No one dares to go near him. Then one day a brave little fish asks his help to free his friends from a fisherman's net. Barker must make a difficult decision that will affect his life forever. In the end Barker overcomes his past, fear of failure and self-doubt to finally free the fish and become a hero.

Barker McGee is an adventurous, heroic tale told in delightful rhyme. The story is brought to life in exquisitely-detailed full-color illustrations that take one's breath away.

Barker McGee can be compared to such Dr. Seuss classics How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Horton Hatches the Egg with it's rollicking rhyming text and strong central character that children just love. Children love heroes especially ones that have to overcome adversity and fear to find the strength to do the right thing.

Barker McGee is a tale that children will want you to read over and over again.

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"Lead the way!" Barker barked, and they swam like two streaks
Over deep sea ravines and immense coral peaks.
As they came to the net, there arose a sad wail.
"Please help us! Please save us! We'll die if you fail!"
Doubt filled Barker's mind.
A chill ran through his core.
"Can I do it?" he wondered.
"I failed once before."
Barker McGee - Written by George Elliott Barker McGee - Written by George Elliott Barker McGee - Written by George Elliott Barker McGee - Written by George Elliott Barker McGee - Written by George Elliott

Book Reviews

Written in verse reminiscent of books by Bill Peet, this is the tale of a crusty, old dogfish named Barker McGee whose meanness is the result of his long-ago failure to save his family from a fisher's net. He is given a chance to redeem himself when Casey, a small fish, pleads for his help to release another net full of fish. Barker overcomes his guilt and shows his determination in a dramatic rescue.

Barker is an engaging and animated main character. Both illustrator and author have painted him in dark tones, one with color (deep purple) and the other with language (tough as the sole of an old leather shoe, scarred, grumpy, gruff, eyes bloodshot yellow, bitter) achieving a successful integration of text and art.

The choice of verse is a good one; the story has not been sacrificed to the rhyme. With a sprinkling of alliteration, onomatopoeia and plenty of imagery, the writing flows well, maintaining a strong plot while providing a lively read-aloud. The story is fast-paced and suspenseful. Young listeners will be glued to their seats anticipating the next turn of the page, and, by the end, they will cheer the transformation of Barker along with all his grateful fishy friends.

The watercolor and ink illustrations are done in pleasing colors against a backdrop of various shades of sea green. Most are double-spreads. Kids will enjoy the detail and activity of the undersea world, its appealing sea creatures (with most expressive eyeballs!), sunken pirate ships and a biplane complete with the bones of pirate and pilot, still dressed. Librarians will enjoy the chance to display the dust jacket since the book's cover is the same.

One minor quibble is with the use of the term 'fishermen' rather than today's more acceptable 'fishers'.

Highly Recommended.

BC's Gillian Richardson is a former teacher-librarian and a published writer of children's fiction and nonfiction.
https://umanitoba.ca/cm/vol7/no13/barker.html

 

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