Kindergarten is an emotional time, and not just for the parents. For a full year before kindergarten started, my son cried every time he saw a school bus pass by.
“I don’t want to go to kindergarten,” he’d sob. “I don’t want to go on a bus. I don’t want to leave my preschool. I’m not ready.”
This same little boy recently graduated from kindergarten, tearing up at his teacher’s year-end slideshow, quietly whispering, “I wish it was the first day of kindergarten again” on the last day. He had an incredible year — reading, writing, making new friends. He learned so much, in fact, that he not only read Marc Brown’s new book, Monkey: Not Ready For Kindergarten, but he interviewed the author, too.
Marc Brown is best known for the wildly popular Arthur series we all grew up reading and watching. Brown’s new series of Monkey books proves to be another iconic hit in the making, beginning with a fear many kids have felt: Am I ready for kindergarten?
Brown took the time to chat with 6-year-old Noah (a bonafide “kindergarten expert”) about the inspiration for the book, what’s next for Monkey, and his Arthur legacy:
Noah: Hi Marc! My name is Noah and my last day of kindergarten is on Tuesday. I really liked kindergarten. I really REALLY like your book! I’m a good reader. This is my first question: How did you get the idea for Monkey Not Ready For Kindergarten? Were you scared of kindergarten, too?
Marc: I was. I was a little scared of kindergarten but remember it fondly now. I think the idea mostly came from my sister Bonnie who grew up to become a kindergarten teacher. I liked going into her classroom and watching what happened. The book is dedicated to her.
N: Did you illustrate the book? The drawings are my favorite part. I like how it looks like crayons. How did you get it to look like real coloring?
M: Of all the 130 books I’ve illustrated, this is the book I most enjoyed illustrating. I wanted the art to feel like a child made it and I wanted the art to capture the feelings that are going on for Monkey. I used watercolor and colored pencils to make the illustrations. Noah, it means a lot that you like the art and it makes me very happy.
N: Are you going to write more Monkey books, like you did with Arthur? If you are, I have ideas: Monkey Not Ready For First Grade; Monkey Not Ready For College. I also noticed Mommy Monkey looks pregnant, so maybe, Monkey Not Ready For Sister? Or maybe, Monkey Not Ready For Sister And Brother because her belly is so big, there might be two babies in there.
M: I am writing and illustrating Monkey: Not Ready For The Baby right now. How clever of you to notice that Monkey’s mommy is pregnant, Noah. You will have to wait for next year to see if Monkey gets a new brother or sister. I can tell you that he only has one new baby in his life, although I did toy with the idea of twins because my niece just had twin boys.
N: By the way, I love watching Arthur! How many Arthur books are there? 1 million? Do you have a favorite Arthur book for kids to read?
M: There are over 65 million Arthur books in print in the U.S. and now kids all over the world watch Arthur. I don’t have a favorite Arthur book. Here’s an interesting fact: Arthur is now the longest running children’s animated TV show ever. Next year will be our 20th year for TV and 40th year for books. I find that amazing because I don’t feel old!
N: You use animals a lot in your books. My mom said Arthur is an aardvark. That’s a weird looking animal. Why did you pick a monkey for this book?
M: I love drawing monkeys!
N: I wrote a lot of stories in kindergarten. Can I make a book, too?
M: Of course you can make a book. I really like hearing that you like reading and writing. It’s important to be a good writer no matter what you want to be when you grow up. Writing is all about connecting with other people. Maybe I’ll get your autograph someday on a book you have written.
Thank you Noah, for asking such great questions.
Read more about Marc Brown’s new book, Monkey: Not Ready For Kindergarten.More On