Parents' Guide to

Cloud Tea Monkeys

By Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Folk tale steeped in rich language and elegant art.

Cloud Tea Monkeys Poster Image

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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Readers, especially early elementary-aged kids who can read fluently, will love this book. They will be captivated by the way the story is told, as well as by the lessons it teaches. The innocent young girl is pitted against the cruel ogre, justice confronts injustice, poor workers are at the mercy of the plantation owners and overseer, and so on. Happily, in true storybook fashion, kindness and goodness win out in the end through a very well-earned twist of magic and circumstance.

Though this story itself is not really an ancient folktale, it seems like one. True, as the authors' note tells us, it grew out of "many tea-picking tales we found in the high mountain countries of the Himalayan region." Together, they have definitely woven those tales into a real classic. And the artwork makes it even more spectacular.

The cover, and all of the artwork that follows within, are absolutely captivating. First of all, a children's book with a black cover will catch almost anyone's eye. But this one, with the little girl in the golden shawl, looking almost as if the sun were shining on her, and the steamy swirl of monkeys rising from her cup of tea, promises a rich magical story. The artwork inside, done in pencil and gouche, is equally rich and elegant. From the quiet peace of the Himalayan landscape, the noise of the chattering monkeys, the emotion on the faces of the characters, and the rich details of the costuming, Juan Wijngaad does a masterful job of illustrating scene after scene.

Book Details

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