Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India

Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India

by Gerald McDermott
     
 

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Monkey is hungry for the delicious mangoes on the island in the river, but he can't swim! How will he get there? Crocodile offers to carry Monkey across the water on his back, so Monkey hops aboard. Trouble is, Crocodile is hungry, too—for Monkey! Will clever Monkey come up with a way to get the mangoes and escape Crocodile's sharp teeth?

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Overview

Monkey is hungry for the delicious mangoes on the island in the river, but he can't swim! How will he get there? Crocodile offers to carry Monkey across the water on his back, so Monkey hops aboard. Trouble is, Crocodile is hungry, too—for Monkey! Will clever Monkey come up with a way to get the mangoes and escape Crocodile's sharp teeth?

Master storyteller and artist Gerald McDermott brings the vibrant colors of India to his telling of this classic trickster tale, which has plenty of cleverness and a sprinkling of mischief.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Playfully told with succinct text and illustrations, this tale will appeal to a wide audience. It is both simple and sophisticated with subtle and not-so-subtle levels of irony…Once again McDermott proves his visual and storytelling mastery."—School Library Journal, starred review

"This is a tightly focused tale with a great payoff; playful, spirited Monkey comes out on top while devious and dimwitted Crocodile is left hungry, and listeners are certain to cheer for the cheeky primate’s final victory."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

 

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A hungry crocodile yearns to catch and eat the heart of a high-jumping monkey in this Indian trickster tale. Monkey longs for the delicious mangoes on the island in the middle of the river. Crocodile offers him a ride on his back and then sinks low in the water. Before he drowns, clever Monkey tells Crocodile that he has left his heart up in a tree. Grumbling, Crocodile returns Monkey to the riverbank, where he scampers away. Still desiring those mangoes, Monkey spots a way to reach the island by jumping across on some rocks. Crocodile disguises himself as a rock and waits. But suspicious Monkey tricks him again to return with his mangoes. Crocodile continues to wait, but Monkey is more careful now. The double-page illustrations are created "with textured papers hand-colored by the artist with fabric paint and ink, then mounted." The background is red; the crocodile is contrasting green with a mouth full of sharp, white, wicked-looking teeth. Furry Monkey, with skinny arms, legs, and tail, appears on the jacket/cover with a smile that promises mischief. The yellow typeface used for the brief text adds a sparkle to the action. McDermott adds a note on the tale itself and his choice of illustration. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—McDermott has chosen well for the sixth and final volume in his trickster series. Monkey's tale, from the Buddhist tradition, is full of irony and attitude. Crocodile wants Monkey's heart, and he is sure he can get it through trickery. When Monkey needs a ride across the river to get mangoes, Crocodile is happy to provide the ride. More than once his weakness for the fruit just about does him in, but he repeatedly proves his cleverness and spunk. He tells Crocodile, "Your teeth may be sharp, but your mind is dull!" Playfully told with succinct text and illustrations, this tale will appeal to a wide audience. It is both simple and sophisticated with subtle and not-so-subtle levels of irony. The cut/torn paper illustrations are inseparable from the text. McDermott has incorporated several cultural elements into the artwork. The familiar paisley design (known throughout India as "raw mango") is found in the cover art and on the dedication page. The papers from India and Southeast Asia, and hand-colored by the artist, add depth, vibrancy, and texture to the text. An author's note traces the origins and history of the tale and artwork. Once again McDermott proves his visual and storytelling mastery.—Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Monkey wants some mangoes and Crocodile wants some monkey—and neither is about to give up in this traditional Indian trickster tale. McDermott's bright and funny text coupled with his equally colorful and lively collage illustrations ably depict the mischievous, nimble primate and his greedy reptilian foe on a glowing background of energetic orange. In an effort to reach the island where the mangoes grow, Monkey accepts a ride from Crocodile and in mid-journey discovers that Crocodile is craving a snack—him! Can Monkey escape? Using his wits, he explains that the monkey heart Crocodile so craves is hidden on shore in a tree—one that, as it turns out, the croc cannot possibly climb. Next, stealthy Crocodile sees that Monkey has discovered a path of rocks that leads to the island. After gathering a load of mangoes, Monkey scampers back only to recognize a suspiciously green rock that is able to speak when prodded. But Monkey still needs to get back home. Can he outmaneuver Crocodile a second time? Readers will laugh out loud at Monkey's escapades and sigh in relief when he manages to get to safety. This final volume in McDermott's sextet of trickster tales is as full of kid appeal and entertaining as the rest and, like them, will power many an energetic read-aloud. (Picture book/folktale. 5-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780544339187
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
11/18/2014
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
598,681
Product dimensions:
10.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Playfully told with succinct text and illustrations, this tale will appeal to a wide audience. It is both simple and sophisticated with subtle and not-so-subtle levels of irony…Once again McDermott proves his visual and storytelling mastery."—School Library Journal, starred review

"This is a tightly focused tale with a great payoff; playful, spirited Monkey comes out on top while devious and dimwitted Crocodile is left hungry, and listeners are certain to cheer for the cheeky primate’s final victory."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

 

Meet the Author

GERALD MCDERMOTT (1941-2012) was an internationally acclaimed author-illustrator of books for children. A graduate of Pratt Institute in New York City and a lifelong artist, he began his career as an animated filmmaker before moving into the creation of children's books based on storytelling traditions from around the world. He was awarded the Caldecott Medal and two Caldecott Honors; his extensive and influential body of work includes six popular picture books focusing on the trickster motif. Devoted to oral tradition and the transformative power of mythology, he was the first Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation and served as a consultant on mythology in education. www.geraldmcdermott.com

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