Children's Book Review

Children’s Book Review- Chunck-A-Monk, The Big Black Skunk

According to research performed by author Michael Passafiume, one in five kids report they’ve been bullied in some fashion. For parents, this statistic can be a daily nightmare in assisting their child process their emotions.

Passafiume wanted to create a book to help children accept and appreciate what makes them different from others which is the primary theme in his adorable, newly published children’s picture book: Chunck-A-Monk: The Big Black Skunk.

The book is perfect for kids of all age groups who are experiencing bullying or just feeling “different” from their peers. In the book, the main character Splitter is a very tall for his age skunk. Also unlike his classmates, he is the only skunk who does not have a white stripe.

Because of his differences, some fellow skunk students at his school begin to make fun of him and call him names. They begin heckling and call him “Chunk-A-Monk: The Big Black Skunk!” This makes Splitter sad– so sad, he goes home to his parents and cries.

Splitter returns to school and notices during recess that some of the students who were playing “skunkball” lost the ball in a tree on the playground. The other skunks are too small to reach the ball stuck in the tree. However, it occurs to Splitter he is tall enough to reach the ball and help them. And so he does which makes everyone happy! The other skunks, impressed of his abilities and helpful spirit, ask him to play with them. His classmates even apologize for calling him mean names.

Splitter tells the students, “I know I may look different on the outside with no white stripe, but I just want to be friends with every skunk.”

When all the students return to class their teacher reminds them that no two skunks are the same.

“Who you are, what you are, and what you look like, does not matter. It is okay
to be different all the time.”

“Be who you are . . . and love it! And be nice to each other all the time!”

The themes of acceptance, kindness and forgiveness flow throughout this charming book. It is a perfect choice for anti-bullying messages in schools as well as aiding in pediatric counseling practices.

Purchase a copy of this awesome book HERE!

AUTHOR Q & A:

How did you develop the title, character names and premise of the book:

“Funny how this book came to be. The title came to be after my friend told me she knew the person who wrote the Albino Alligator children’s book. Then she said she wanted to do a children’s book with me because she liked the way I wrote. Though I went to college for Communications/Journalism and wrote sports for the school paper, “I don’t know anything about writing kids books,” I told her.

That same night after hearing about the Albino Alligator for the first time, my idea was what other animal doesn’t often get written about? Brainstorming for a while I said skunk, an all black skunk. She liked the idea, then she said, “Okay, what about a skunk?”…. After a couple minutes thinking, I blurted out, “Chunk-A-Monk” because that’s what she called her baby nephew. She loved it…. Thus how the title Chunk-A-Monk, the Big Black Skunk came to be.”

“The backstory of Splitter being named as such…. About maybe two weeks after she pitched me on writing a children’s book, (this idea was formed in 2009, but never did anything with it) we flew up to Tennessee in June to see two of my friends who coach college basketball….
Upon leaving the basketball arena, heading to our car, literally this skunk comes out of nowhere and bolts right for the car…We both look at each other with the I Don’t Believe This! look. So, he’s under our car, behind the rear wheel— well, playing a game of hide and go seek, with no ambition to move. We’re there, just frozen, because we don’t want to approach the car. I have the bright idea, “Hey, I have these two water bottles here… I’m going to chuck them at the wheel and hopefully the noises scare him off.

NOPE!

I start chucking them and my friends goes, “if you get sprayed, you’re getting another room!” So all out of ammo, I call my friend who still is inside the arena… I said can you come out here for a second? His response, “where are you?” I go, “We’re in the parking lot right outside.” He goes, “still? You left ten mins. ago. I respond, “thanks for the time check, I know… As soon as we walked out a skunk bolted underneath the car and there’s no desire to move. So he starts laughing…After the day my friend & I had, we weren’t amused lol. My friend comes out, the skunk hears the door close and then just takes off for the woods.
Obviously me and her took it as a sign, just about two weeks prior the whole skunk book idea was fostered and now we had one under our car. Honestly, that was the first and only time since I’ve seen a skunk. The university we went visited was Lincoln Memorial and their mascot is Railsplitters.

‘My friend’ (Danielle) who brought the whole children’s book idea to me, without her– what I thought at the time was an off the wall idea– would’ve never even been conjured up in the first place.  And unfortunately in 2017 she passed away unexpectedly… and was the primary reason why I saw it through to the end this time. ” -Author Michael Passafiume

About the Author:

Michael Passafiume’s love of the art of writing was born as a teenager when he began writing about sports for his high school newspaper. That love paved the way for him to obtain his bachelor’s degree in Communications & Journalism. He continued writing throughout earning his Master’s in Special Education. That combination has led him to this point and authoring his first children’s book. Michael resides in sunny Florida with his family where he enjoys the year long tropical temperatures.

Follow him on Social Media:

Instagram: Mike (@passmike) • Instagram photos and videos

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MCPassafiume

Thanks for reaching out! I will get back to you shortly!

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