Saadeh the Monkey

Compiled by: Taghreed Najjar, Illustrated by: Hiba Farran,


These traditional nonsense rhymes combine familiar and strange out of context elements and situations as well as made-up words that have rhythm. They also deal with serious issues that reflect fears and situations in the culture. Fear of wild animals that prey on their livestock. Caring for animals. Waiting for loved ones to come back from their travels.
Titles of the Rhymes in this book are:
1- Ree Ree Reeta
2- Tangerine Tangerine
3- Grandpa’s Bald Head
4- Saadah The Monkey
5- Bolbol Balabel
6- Under The Chair
7- This Old Man
8- Abdul Samad
9- Tiki Tiki Sambo
10- Walking Camel
11- Sarandah Ya Sarandah
12- Suzzaneh

Parent/Teacher Guide

Silly Rhymes, are rhymes that help develop a child’s sense of humor. They give children a chance to have fun with words and sounds and the freedom to laugh at silly situations that don’t make much sense. The rhyme “Saadeh the Monkey” for example is about a monkey feeding a cat an aubergine. The rhyme “Grandpa’s Bald Head” starts with the funny mental image of rain falling on Grandpa’s bald head then continues to talk about the Grandfather beating a wolf that came sneaking up on him and sending him whining away. This funny rhyme was probably used to deal with the fears of children in villages from wild animals like wolves. Some of the rhymes have made-up words that are fun to repeat like; “ree ree rita fala fala fita” and “tiki tiki sambo tori limbo”. Children have great fun repeating these made-up words and pretending that they can speak exotic languages. Then there is the hard of hearing old man with a beard that comes down to his belt, in the rhyme "This Old Man". His wife told him to go to the souk to get her a dress but he came back with cucumbers instead. The rhyme “Abdul Samad” may have been used to release feelings of jealousy in children after the arrival of a new baby sibling. The newborn baby is put in out of context places which allows the child to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation. In the rhyme “Bolbol Balabel” the traditional rhyme can be understood on two levels one of a bird jumping from tree to tree and bringing news and the other is an underlying traditional meaning which reflects the great yearning and waiting for a long absent relative. Bolbol is a bird that has the freedom to fly afar and see the road ahead from the top of trees. He brings the good news that the absent ones are coming back and so the call is out to prepare for their arrival and to rejoice. Other rhymes such as "Walking Camel" used to be a group game which children used to play. On each syllable in the rhyme the child makes a movement that's related to the rhyme. Here's an illustration of the movements made with the words of the rhyme: the rhyme starts with the words "Jamal Mashi" (meaning camel walking) – fingers make walking movement. 'Al mamashi ( meaning legs) – hands are put on thighs. Ijeet ashiddoh (meaning I tried to pull it) hands on chest making pulling movement. Khataf shahi (meaning stole my head wear) hands on head. There is a leader to this game and after a few practice turns the leader starts saying the words of the rhyme while making the wrong movement. The kids who fall for this are out of the game and so on. The rhyme encourages concentration and makes children laugh.


One of the best publications in the Arab World in 2012/2013 - as selected by the National Centre for Children's Literature (a service of the French National Library)

Additional information
ISBN 9789957040680
Binding Board Book
Pages 18
Age Range 0+
Year of Publication 2013
Weight 0.198 kg
Dimensions 15 × 1 × 21 cm


Reviews (0)


There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Saadeh the Monkey”

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

About the Author: Taghreed Najjar

"Taghreed Najjar is a pioneer of modern children's literature in Jordan. A graduate of the American University of Beirut,Taghreed started her career as a teacher before becoming a full time writer of picture books and young adult novels. Her YA novels have been celebrated widely by her readers and various schools in the region have adopted them as part of their curriculum. A number of her books have won awards while others have been translated into foreign languages like English, Swedish, Turkish, French and Chinese.  
One of her most critically acclaimed works is a series of ten picture books revolving around six-year old Jude and her family and friends.'The Halazone Series', deals with everyday childhood issues which are treated with humor and deftness by the author. One of Taghreed’s pet projects was collecting old Arabic children rhymes and publishing them in book and digital form to make them accessible to the modern child and family of today. She published two collections of rhymes, the latest entitled 'Musical Tickles' was selected by the National Centre for Children's Literature (a service of the French National Library) as one of the best publications in the Arab World in 2012/2013.

Taghreed is a member of the Jordanian Writer’s Association and takes part in international and regional conferences and workshops that deal with children literature."

About the Illustrator: Hiba Farran

Hiba Farran is  a freelance graphic  designer and illustrator. She graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor degree in graphic design She has illustrated and designed several children’s books published in Lebanon and abroad. Currently Hiba is interested in the visual translation of knowledge and data to young audiences.