Whether leaping through the vines of a rainforest or the pages of a book at the library, monkeys have lots to teach us about the ways animals live, our responsibilities in caring for the last wild places, and just how to have fun.

I'll bet you know that monkeys are furry, cute, and swing in the trees, but there's so much more to learn about them:

A Monkey is NOT an Ape

Monkeys have tails, but apes do not. Chimpanzees, gibbons, orangutans, and gorillas are all apes. They use their powerful arms and legs to swing through the trees. Many New World monkeys from South America can use their tails like another hand to swing. Monkeys from Asia and India can't do that! Monkeys, apes, and humans are all part of a family group called primates.

Fun Monkey Facts:

  • The smallest monkey is a marmoset.
  • The biggest is the baboon.
  • Monkeys and apes have squiggly brains like humans that make them a lot smarter than most animals. Porpoises are thought to be very smart. They are the only other animals to have squiggly brains. Most animals have smooth brains that look like tomatoes.*
  • Monkeys and apes are pretty good at understanding people language. Scientists are now trying to understand monkey language.

Learn more about these incredible creatures online and in the library. We've also found lots of monkey games, stories, and crafts so you can go bananas with monkey fun.

*Monkeys and Apes of the World, pg. 15.

Monkeys in the Library

Amazing Monkeys by Scott Steedman.
Lots of fun facts about monkeys with tons of photos and color illustrations. Part of the Eyewitness Juniors series.

The Complete Adventures of Curious George by Margret & H.A. Rey.
Seven classic stories featuring "the good little monkey who was always very curious" and his friend, the man with the yellow hat.

The Golden Lion Tamarin Comes Home by George Ancona.
Cover to Pedro and the MonkeyThis little monkey was born in a zoo, but thanks to the work of scientists, he is able to go back to the Brazilian rain forest.

The Hatseller and the Monkeys: A West African Folktale retold and illustrated by Baba Wague Diakite.
BaMusa is clever at making and selling hats, but one day he is a little foolish to nap under a mango tree filled with playful monkeys who have no hats of their own.

I Like Monkeys Because-- by Peter Hansard.
Meet many monkeys and apes from all over the world. Part of the Read and Wonder series for beginning readers.

I Want My Banana! by Mary Risk.
A hungry, little monkey wants his banana. Other jungle creatures offer him other choices, but monkey still wants his banana! The CRRL owns the bilingual versions of these in French and Spanish, which do include the story in English as well as a picture dictionary and guide on how to say the words.

Monkeys and Apes of the World by Rita Golden Gelman.
Learn what monkeys and apes eat, how they raise their families, and what makes monkeys different from apes.

New World Monkeys by Amanda Harmon.
Learn more about the monkeys of the Americas.

Old World Monkeys by Bill Ivy.
Discover the monkeys of Africa, Asia, and India.

Pedro and the Monkey retold from Filipino folklore by Robert D. San Souci.
Pedro, a poor farmer, is rewarded for his kindness to a monkey when the clever creature finds him a rich bride and helps him imprison a horrible giant.

So Say the Little Monkeys by Nancy Van Laan.
Tiny monkeys living and playing by a riverbank think that there's always amanha (tomorrow) to make a shelter from the storm in this rolicking folktale from Brazil.

The Story of Doctor Dolittle: Being the History of His Peculiar Life at Home and Astonishing Adventures in Foreign Parts by Hugh Lofting.
The famous doctor who can talk to the animals is the only one who can save the African monkeys from a dire epidemic. Join Gub-Gub, Chee-Chee, and Polynesia, aboard a ship bound for adventure.

A Web Full of Monkeys

DLTK's Crafts for Kids
Paper puppets, pages to color, and a monkey mask for you. Also crafts featuring the ever curious George.

Hungry Monkey
Find the fruits, and feed the monkey! Game tip: put the food in the monkey's hands. He can feed himself! Several levels of play.

Monkey Door Hanger Craft
This little monkey has a mission: "Do Not Disturb." Print out the pattern, color, and cut it out.

Monkey Match
A new way to play "Simon Says" from the folks at PBS' Between the Lions.

Pipe Cleaner Monkey
These little guys are more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Make them in different colors, hang them, and share them with friends.

Sock Monkey
Long live the sock monkey! These classic stuffed animals require some sewing skills and the right kind of socks.