Title: The Chocolate Monster
Author: Pip Jones
Illustrator: Laura Hughes
Publisher:Allen & Unwin
RRP: $14.99 (AUD)

This soft cover, large format picture book is perfect for reading aloud. There is a monster on the loose, “a mighty tricky sticky thief”. A reward has been offered for this chocolate thief, called The Chunk. He is big, has purple fur streaked with pink, and will stop at nothing to increase his supply of chocolate. He steals and eats, and then cleverly blames anyone who might be around, including the cat.

The rhyming text is fun and begs to be read aloud. In fact, like many rhyming books for a young audience, the narrative works better when read aloud. The brightly coloured full page illustrations use a variety of viewpoints and sizes, adding to its read aloud qualities. There are a variety of characters and items in the illustrations not mentioned in the verbal text, enabling young listeners and readers to really make this story their own.

This playful picture book would make a brilliant addition to any story time in a public library or preschool and lower primary classroom.

Activity Suggestions

  • The chocolate monster in the book has purple fur with pink streaks. Have the children paint a monster of their own that might eat their favourite food.
  • List all the food made of chocolate in the book. Can you add anything else? The children can choose one food to research at home, bringing back to school an interesting fact.
  • Look at the adjectives used in the book. What other words could be used to describe The Chunk and his actions?
  • The Chunk is described as being “… silent, like a cloud”. Discuss similes and make a simile list for other actions of The Chunk, or other characters.
  • The Chunk is described as “a master of disguise”. Take photos of the children and print on A4 paper. Have them decorate themselves with a disguise.
  • Still on the topic of disguises, set up a table in the classroom with disguises the children can try. A quick search on the internet will yield many disguise print outs, including glasses, moustaches, and hats. Print on card and use paddle pop sticks or drinking straws for holding up to the face.

Many thanks to Allen & Unwin for supplying this book for review.

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