Slowly Slowly by T.M. Clark
Illustrated by Helene Magisson
Published by Wombat Books
Date: 1 November 2017
This book will see children immersed into the customs and culture of Africa, where we take a journey of persistence, patience and resilience. Slowly! Slowly! has been adapted into a story in South Africa from a proverb “Softly, softly, catchee monkey”.
This beautiful story is about a little boy Bongani and he wants to go to school, but his family tell him he is too young. Grandfather distracts Bongani by saying that he won’t be able to catch a monkey if he goes to school, and he is immediately interested in being able to catch one. The phrase ‘Slowly, slowly, you catch a monkey’ is said a few times throughout the book, which only makes Bongani more determined to catch one. However, his challenge of trying to catch a monkey doesn’t turn out to be all that he had imagined, and certainly not as easy.
There is a lot to talk about with your young reader about this book. You can explain to your child that this book is more than just about catching monkeys, that it is about patience, family, school and gratitude. It is a lovely story and would make a perfect book to read to your preschooler and school aged child. If you want to take the story a little further, there are some really thorough and useful teacher notes on the book website.
The colours in the illustrations are gentle, with lots of purple and green hues. The faces of the animals and people are very expressive and you get a good understanding how they are feeling without reading any words. There is a good balance between white space and the drawings, I like that the pages aren’t too cluttered, but still give you so much to take in and enjoy as part of the story.
One of the positive aspects of the book is that the writing is very neat and easy to read which makes it a good book for early readers. Some words like hyena and Bongani might be hard to pronounce and sound out but overall the words would be easily recognised.
I recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Thank you Julia and Wombat books for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.