Selected by the American Bookseller Association for the Fall 2008 Children's Indie Next List
"With the same simple-yet-lovely art that made Count the Birdies and ABC such winning board books, Monkey World adds fantastic rhyming words to the merriment. Parents will not get bored by this one, even after hundreds of readings!" --Suzanne Perry, The Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA
Seattle Magazine's Best of 2008
"Best Example of Monkeys Engaged in Nontraditional Employment "
Our little evolutionary cousins aren't just cymbal players for organ griders anymore. These days, monkeys are astronauts, hula hoopers and ventriloquists - at least they are in Monkey World: A - Z of Occupations (Simply Read Books: 2008), local artist Matthew Porter's newest storybook that takes kids on a alphabetical tour of the working world. We grown-ups love it, too - his images appeal to the primate in all of us.
Matthew Porter’s new show takes us into a bizarre world in which goateed monkeys play bass, pirate monkeys battle giant sea monsters, and janitor monkeys cheerfully mop the floor. All these adorable acrylic paintings are from his eponymous Monkey World: An A–Z of Occupations ($16.95, Simply Read Books), an illustrated children’s volume that aims to teach the alphabet via unconventional jobs like snake charming—my college major, btw—and ventriloquism. Porter’s giggle-inducing exhibit can be enjoyed by adults and children, but the latter may need a gentle reminder later that becoming a gangster isn’t the wisest career path to embark on. Unless you’re a monkey. - ERIKA HOBART
Seattle Times - www.nwsource.com - Kathy Schultz
Your young reader will go bananas for 'Monkey World' by local artist Matthew Porter
Charming paintings and verse help lovable primates illuminate the alphabet.
It's a monkey's world -- we're just living in it. Seattle artist and Bluebottle Gallery co-owner Matthew Porter doesn't just monkey around when it comes to painting adorable, wide-eyed animals. In his first book, "ABC," he painted an owl, a penguin and a zebra, among others.
But in his new book, he gets serious about monkeys. So serious, in fact, he's created an entire "Monkey World" (Simply Read Books, 2008, $16.95) of illustrations from A to Z. The just-released children's book features 26 lovable primates engaged in various occupations, one for each letter of the alphabet.
A poet as well as a painter, Porter has attached a short verse to each letter and illustration, from the D in Detective and the H in Hula Hoop to the V in Ventriloquist and the Y in Yoga.
Porter has also created a 2009 Monkey World wall calendar ($13.95). Charming simians float high in the sky in hot air balloons in September, and ski on snow-covered hills in December. But my favorite is October, when monkey-faced trick-or-treaters dress up as fanged Draculas and horned devils.
You can dress your own little monkey in a onesie or T-shirt ($20-$34) from Porter's Red Panda children's clothing collection, which he launched along with his wife, Andrea. Monkeys grin from each of the locally screen-printed organic cotton garments, which are available online and at the gallery in infant to toddler sizes, in pink, blue, brown and mint green.
Here comes a book we’re sure will be come an instant family favorite – Seattle artist Matthew Porter’s Monkey World: A-Z of Occupations, from Simply Read Books. Anything that a human might try, Porter’s monkeys will do. The book is filled with pirate monkeys, cowboy monkeys, motor-scooterist monkeys, and all sorts of other monkeys. Each monkey is doing a job, in alphabetical order, and each job has a poem, too. “Each poem tells a story or describes what the occupation is,” Porter explains. “This is my third book, but my first time writing.” His previous books, ABC and Count the Birdies, also feature delightful animals. His 2009 Monkey World calendar is also available now, and it comes with a coloring book. Porter and his wife, Andrea, own Blue Bottle Gallery, where his art, books, calendar, and a brand new kids’ clothing line featuring his work will be available in an August Monkey World extravaganza.
I first saw Matthew Porter’s work at Bumbershoot a couple of years ago, at the exhibit mounted by Bluebottle Art, the Capitol Hill gallery he owns with his wife, Andrea Porter. A poster based on his children’s book, ABC, showed simply drawn animals staring straight at the viewer in something like surprise. The colors were muted and old-fashioned, giving the drawings a pleasing vintage feel. My kids knew their ABCs by then, but never mind; I coveted that poster for myself.
Porter has written a third children’s book (Japanese woodcut-influenced Count the Birdies is the other), Monkey World: A-Z of Occupations from Simply Read Books, in which a succession of monkeys demonstrate interesting and unusual jobs. You can meet him at the Ballard Library tomorrow, July 29, at 6:30 p.m. He’ll be reading the book’s crayzee nonsense poems — this is Porter’s first crack at writing — and showing original art. Don’t be late for this one.
And here’s something full of win for the shoppers among us: Now you can outfit your infants and toddlers in Porterwear! (Are adult sizes next? Here’s hoping.) The Porters recently launched clothing line Red Panda – featuring monkey-themed onesies and Ts — available online and at Seattle-area kid stores Bootyland, Pop Tots, Retroactive Kids and Clover Toys.
Monkey World is an alphabet book, and both primary and elementary aged students would benefit from its 'teaching' aspect of letter/sound matching as well as delight in the creative rhyming patterns and zany monkey portraits. In addition, the poetry on each page provides an exemplar for junior high and high school students. Finally, the unique art work would inspire any student to create pictures and images using varied materials. Apparently, Porter paints images on pine boards that were sanded to highlight texture and then finished with veneer. The final pictures are hip and funky; lovable and fun!
Each letter comes with a fantastic poem with a parallel picture, both reflecting the occupation Porter names. My 10-year-old son and I had the greatest time trying to guess what occupation Porter chose for each letter. What did he come up with for v? What occupation starts with h? Monkey World is a must for every child's bookshelf, every school library and every classroom. A charming, unique and delightful collection!