Critical Thinking in the Jungle


Yes, this book is wonderful for helping young children develop critical thinking skills, but the BEST thing about it is that it’s a very funny story and children love it.

“Where’s My Mom?” sounds like the title of a very sad book about a lost and anxious little one. I don’t like those kinds of books, and I don’t read them to my classes! They might not faze my students at all, but to me they bring back awful memories of finding myself separated from my mom, usually in a department store. My mom was very vigilant, so those moments would last a nanosecond, which was enough to send me into a complete panic that I remember all these years later!

But “Where’s My Mom?” isn’t sad at all – the mom-less monkey is befriended by a chipper butterfly who confidently finds one mother after another, but never the right one!

The butterfly makes mistakes because he takes the monkey’s descriptions literally. If the monkey says mom has legs, the butterfly finds a spider – who has lots of legs, after all. When the monkey says Mom likes to jump, the butterfly finds a frog. By the end, the exasperated monkey complains that those animals don’t look like him! The butterfly explains the confusion by noting that her children don’t look like her, either – and the illustration shows her little caterpillar kids.

Students laugh at all the ridiculous mistakes, and get so into it that they even yell at the butterfly sometimes! But each time, we discuss how the butterfly made an understandable, logical choice, and we talk about what the monkey could have said at the beginning that would have been more helpful. It really gets children thinking about how to explain things, and what kind of information is helpful in different situations.

For all the logic-puzzliness of it all, though, the story moves along very smoothly and naturally, and it engages children from start to finish! And the little monkey is very cute.


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