“Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That's the old saying that my father taught me way back in the last century when I was a little girl. For the most part, my father was right. Words never hurt me physically, but whenever a harsh word was sent my way, pain would resonate longer. Words may never break your back, but they can break your spirit. This is the lesson I believe Harriett Ruderman wants children to learn in her book, The Laceyville Monkeys, Say the Right Words.
The Laceyville Monkeys are a trio of amazing monkeys that can sing, perform gymnastics and dance. However; if you don't say the right words, the monkeys will not perform for any audience. With charming illustrations by Beverly Luria, Ruderman has created not only a world that will delight children, but passes on the very valuable lesson of choosing the right words. The rhyming tale is certain to delight children and parents alike.
Miss Hepzibath Mott arrives in Laceyville with her three monkeys: Eva, the ballerina; Sheva, the singer; and Keva, the gymnast. To begin their delightful performance, Miss Hepzibath Mott says the right (and kind) words. She wishes to enter the trio in the big talent contest, but Granny Scott has other plans. On the day of the contest, she sneaks the monkeys out of the house and enters them into the contest. However, Granny Scott has never learned the lesson of using the right words, and the monkeys refuse to perform. Without giving too much away, you can be rest assured that your children will be enthralled with the wonderful ending.
The book's colorful pictures and rhyming words will teach the lesson of kindness that will stay with your children long after the back cover is closed. In this day and age of harshness, perhaps a few adults could read the tale and learn the lesson as well.