This story is based on Bread and Honey, by Frank Asch. I learned it from Bill Mayhew, a master storyteller from Maryland. Because of its novelty, "Little Monkey Face" is good story to tell at the beginning of a storytime. It's also a good story to tell at the end of a storytime because of the light-hearted tone and general silliness. It won't tax a potentially tired audience. There's not too much in the way of depth or meaning, though one could argue about Little Monkey's motives: is he a people-pleaser or is he having a joke at our expense? You decide, but don't ruin the fun for your young audience!
LITTLE MONKEY FACE
Once upon a time, there was a little monkey named Little Monkey. He loved to draw. One day in art class, the teacher said, "Draw a picture of the most beautiful thing in the world." Little Monkey drew a picture of his mother:
Little Monkey liked his picture, and he couldn't wait to show his mother. As he was walking home from school, picture in hand, he saw his friend, Ms. Giraffe. "What have you got there, Little Monkey?" Ms. Giraffe asked.
Little Monkey showed her and said, "It's a picture of my mother."
"That's a pretty picture, Little Monkey, but everyone knows that beautiful people have nice long necks."
"Oh," said Little Monkey. "Okay!" Little Monkey got out his crayons and drew a long neck.
As Little Monkey continued to walk home, he bumped into his friend, Mr. Hippopotamus. He showed the picture to his friend, and Mr. Hippo said, "Heyyyyy, Little Monkey, that's a good-looking picture there... but everyone knows that beautiful people have big round bodies."
"Um, okay," Little Monkey said, and he took out his crayons again to add a big round body to the picture.
Little Monkey contined to walk home, holding the picture of his mother. Along the way, he met his friend, Miss Spider. She hopped onto Little Monkey's picture, she said, "Oh, Little Monkey, that's a nice picture... but everyone knows beautiful people have eight long legs."
"Okay," said Little Monkey, and he added eight legs to the picture.
Little Monkey continued to walk home. He really wanted to show his picture to his mother. As he turned a corner, he saw his friend, Mr. Squirrel. "What have you got there, Little Monkey?" Mr. Squirrel asked.
"A picture of my mother," Little Monkey replied.
"Well, it's a spiffy picture," Mr. Squirrel said. "However... I don't know how to tell you this but... everyone knows beautiful people have bushy tails."
"Okay," Little Monkey said. He added a bushy tail to his drawing.
Little Monkey was glad to see his friends, but he really wanted to get home to show his mother the picture he had made for her. However, who should he bump into but his friend, Mrs. Ladybug. She said, "Nice picture, Little Monkey! Nice picture. But you do know, as everyone else does, that beautiful people are red with black spots."
"Okay," Little Monkey said. He took out his crayons once again and added red with black spots to the picture.
Little Monkey continued to walk home. (By now, he was wishing he had taken the short-cut.) As he waited at the crosswalk, who should he see but Mr. Lion, the crossing-guard. Mr. Lion said, "Little Monkey, I see you've got a picture there! It's looking good. Still, everyone knows that beautiful people have tawny manes of hair."
"Okay," Little Monkey said. He got out his crayons, added the mane, and crossed the street.
Little Monkey was almost home. He could even see his house three doors down. But just then, he saw his friend, Ms. Elephant, playing hopscotch. Ms. Elephant said, "Hey, Little Monkey! I'm glad to see you."
"I'm glad to see you too, Ms. Elephant," Little Monkey said. "But I really can't wait to get home to my mother. You see, I've got--"
"Whoah! What's that?" Ms. Elephant asked.
"It's a picture of my mother," Little Monkey said.
"Well, it's really quite good," Ms. Elephant said. "It's got passion, depth, color... the only thing is..."
"Yes?" said Little Monkey.
"The only thing is that everyone knows beautiful people have long noses."
"Okay," Little Monkey said. He got out his crayons and drew a long nose.
Finally, Little Monkey reached his house. Inside, Mother Monkey was fixing Little Monkey's snack. "Hello, Little Monkey!" she said.
"I made a picture for you," Little Monkey said. He showed his mother the picture.
"Why, that's... lovely, Little Monkey," Mother Monkey said. "But what it is it?"
"It's you, Mom!" Little Monkey said.
"Thank you," Mother Monkey said. She took the picture and hung it on the refrigerator. Then, she gathered Little Monkey into her arms and gave him a BIG monkey hug.