I Want My Banana! is a cute story about a little monkey who has lost his banana, and is very sad. Other animals offer him their favourite foods (although I’m not too sure if Pineapple really is Hyena’s favourite food), but sad little monkey only wants his banana. [Spoiler alert!] Then tiger sets a trap to catch monkey, but monkey is too quick! He see’s his banana, grabs it and runs back up his tree foiling tigers plan.
The story is in dual English and French on each page, with English at the top and French at the bottom. Neither is invasive.
I’m not a french speaker, but thought this would be a nice way to increase my confidence with the language. There’s a wonderful pronunciation guide at the back of the book, which has tips on pronunciation, using the book, a pictorial dictionary, and has the entire french story written out normally, and phonetically.
Le Singe a perdue sa banane.
ler sanjsh ah pairdoo sah ban-nahn
The pictures in the story are quite detailed line drawings coloured with a watercolour wash effect, but the animals are somewhat lacking in facial expressions. This aside, it is still easy to see that Monkey is upset, Python is excited then annoyed, but beyond that, how do you show a parrot is happy?
The book recommends itself for ages 3+. I’m reading it to a much younger child and I have been reading this for a while. I doubt it will have much effect on her English vocabulary, and she’s not really exposed to enough French to make much of an impact, but I’m sure she’s picked up a few words (at her age banana’s are “narna’s” anyway).
The words learnt are a great blend of the everyday (sad – triste; happy – heureux/heureuse; I want a – je veux un) and the unusual (hyena – la hyènes ; tiger – le tigre).
Whether you’re learning or fluent in French, this is a cute book. Designed for adults to be able to read to their children in a shared reading experience, and for children to be able to learn to read independently, I Want My Banana! has quite a shelf life.
We’re still enjoying this book as E’s english vocabulary develops, but it will be interesting to see just how long it keeps her interest.