Cha Cha Chimps by Julia Durango
Illustrated by Eleanor Taylor
About the book:
Counting and dancing go hand in hand at Mambo Jamba’s, the place where hippos hokey-pokey and meerkats Macarena and ten little chimps do the cha-cha-cha until Mama Chimp says, “Time for bed!”
About the author:
The first time Julia Durango heard the chant from Cha-Cha Chimps, her two sons were chasing each other around and chattering like monkeys. Lucky for us, this one-time children’s literature columnist and reviewer knows a catchy refrain when she hears one! Julia’s first book was the Jared Lee Illustrated Dream Hop. She lives in Ottawa, Illinois.
About the illustrator:
Eleanor Taylor is the internationally beloved illustrator of numerous picture books, including Chicken in the kitchen by Tony Johnston. Ellie and her husband live in London, England, with a son who isn’t quite old enough to run around chattering like a monkey- but maybe this book will change that!
Do you like to go to bed at night? What would you rather do besides sleep? What do you think a bunch of monkeys would do?
Questions for your little monkey:
- Where do the monkeys go? Why?
- How many monkeys chimps start out dancing?
- Can you name all the animals in the story?
- What’s the limbo? How do you play?
- What instruments are in the story? Which one would you most like to play?
- Can you make a conga line? How?
- Sing the hokey-poke song! How does it go? What’s your favorite thing to put in and take out?
- Create a beat that you think has a latin rhythm. Can you shimmy shimmy too?
- Have you ever seen an Irish clogger? What is interesting about the way they dance? What don’t they use?
- What does Mama do? Do you think the chimps will do it again? Why?
Teach kids about verbs by pulling these from the story and playing charades:
Find examples of each of the types of music mentioned in the story and play for the children. Have them dance to it free form. Or, create small paddle signs on tongue depressers or popsicle sticks that students can raise to show what they think of the music. Some options for their response: fast, slow, soft, loud, makes me want to dance!
Using washed and dried milk cartons from the cafeteria, let students design Mambo Jamba’s using construction paper, scraps of fabric, and pieces of cardboard. Then, they can sculpt animal figures using play-doh or other colored clay.
Students can choose one of the animals mentioned in the story and do an animal report. They can create either a poster or pamphlet about their animal. They should learn the following things: where they live in the wild, what they eat, and what their homes look like. Children can share their projects with another class.