Monkey (The Five Ancestors Series #2)

Monkey (The Five Ancestors Series #2)

4.4 58
by Jeff Stone
     
 

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At 11-years-old, Malao is the youngest of the Five Ancestors. Master of the monkey fighting style, he’s curious and quick, fast and fun-loving. But now, with the destruction of the temple and the deaths of his older brothers and Grandmaster, Malao the fun-loving monkey is forced to face things he’d rather not. As he grapples with these new and unwelcome

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Overview

At 11-years-old, Malao is the youngest of the Five Ancestors. Master of the monkey fighting style, he’s curious and quick, fast and fun-loving. But now, with the destruction of the temple and the deaths of his older brothers and Grandmaster, Malao the fun-loving monkey is forced to face things he’d rather not. As he grapples with these new and unwelcome feelings, Malao has an encounter with a dangerous band of bandits, is adopted by a troop of monkeys commanded by a one-eyed albino, and hears tantalizing rumors of a mysterious recluse called the Monkey King, who is said to act, and look, a lot like him. . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Favorite series and characters come to the fore this fall. As fans of Jeffrey Stone's Five Ancestors series might expect, the second book in his series, Monkey, takes up with Malao (which means "Monkey"), first introduced in his launch book, Tiger. This next installment retraces a bit of the same territory, leading up to the moment when the five orphans "scatter to the winds," and fills in the gaps of Malao's whereabouts while he and Fu ("Tiger") were separated in the previous novel. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Malao, an orphaned boy who was taught monkey-style kung fu in a monastery by an old mentor named the Grandmaster, finds himself on the run when an older, disenchanted monk returns and destroys the monastery and kills the Grandmaster. Determined to kill Malao and his four brothers, Ying, the older monk, now employed by the Emperor, has some devious designs for power and prestige, and Malao and his brothers must thwart him. This title in the "Five Ancestors" series follows Malao in both his quest to defeat Ying and his quest to discover his own heritage. As Malao and his brothers abandon the monastery following the destruction, they get separated, and Malao eventually finds himself in the middle of a battle between a band of thieves and an equally nefarious band of monkeys. Malao is attracted to the monkeys, as they seem familiar to him. He inevitably befriends a large, white monkey that helps him escape from the thieves and leads him to a village where he is reunited with his brother Fu. Together they battle Ying and his cohorts in a series of confrontations. These conflicts drive the story, but the interest comes in the forms of the brothers. They each possess an animal-like disposition that fits perfectly with the style of kung fu they have perfected. Malao is a monkey style fighter, which befits his playful, carefree personality. He is both chatty and quick, but very efficient as a fighter. Stone plays with these caricatures well and allows their personalities to infuse the action with wild abandon. We see that Fu is a tiger and that Seh, another brother, is a snake, in both their fighting styles as well as their personalities. As only the second book in a possible five-part series,this book solves little. In fact, the lack of any concrete resolution to any of the challenges the boys face is the one complaint I have about an otherwise enchanting little book. 2005, Random House, Ages 12 up.
—Tom Jones <%ISBN%>0375830731
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-Set in medieval China, each book in this series focuses on one of five young orphan monks. Each one is named after a specific animal and is learning a kung-fu-style martial art based on its characteristics. In the opening pages of Tiger and this sequel, their secret temple is attacked by a former student who is attempting to turn himself into a dragon. Their teacher, the Grandmaster, is killed and the five scatter into the forest. This sets up a tense plot that moves quickly from fight scene to fight scene with character and plot development being filled in between battles. Eleven-year-old Malao, the "Monkey," is the youngest monk and is prone to giggling and avoiding baths. Initially uncertain without his brothers by his side, he is befriended by an albino macaque who is the leader of a troop of monkeys. Human/animal interaction is a central theme of both books as is the idea of the "Chosen One" or, in this case, "Chosen Five." While both books begin at the same moment and then follow a separate character, their stories meet at points and the second book takes readers farther along in the narrative. Mysteries abound, with many left unresolved at the end. It is important to read this series in order. Stone has done a masterful job of managing an intricate plot, developing authentic characters, and writing well-described fight scenes. An easy and worthy sell to middle-grade readers.-Kathleen Meulen, Blakely Elementary School, Bainbridge Island, WA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The second in a projected set of interwoven kung-fu adventures revisits incidents from the previous episode, Tiger (p. 236), through the eyes of Malao ("Monkey" in Cantonese)-named after both the fighting style in which he's been trained, and his noisy, restless disposition. Here, he and fellow child monks in various combinations battle their renegade former leader Ying for possession of four scrolls containing mighty kung-fu secrets. Amid much treetop back and forth with a mysterious old macaque, Malao torments his companions with continual chaffing, while participating in hyper-complicated pranks and well-described battles marked by stunning physical feats; though the plot sometimes moves forward in fits and starts, action scenes are fast, furious and often comic. Stone tosses in hints of deeper intrigues, and closes with an inconclusive encounter with a powerful, super-fast new adversary. Stay tuned. Fine fare for fans of lower-budget martial arts films and graphic novels. (Fantasy. 10-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375830730
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
09/27/2005
Series:
Five Ancestors Series, #2
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
1,475,432
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.77(d)
Lexile:
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Monkey


By Jeff Stone

Random House

Jeff Stone
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0375830731


Chapter One

Chapter 1


Malao raced through the moonlit treetops, nervous energy driving him deeper and deeper into the forest.
He had to put as much distance between himself and Cangzhen Temple as possible. Ying had returned--
and was more dangerous than ever.

Malao leaped off the gnarled arm of an ancient oak and soared through the night sky.

He landed on the limb of a young maple and paused. He was lucky to be alive, let alone to have escaped
uninjured. The same was true for his brothers Fu, Seh, Hok, and Long. Cangzhen Temple was in ruins,
and its warrior monks-Malao's older brothers and teachers-were all dead.

Malao began to tremble. The thunder he had heard was a devastating new weapon called a qiang. With
the twitch of a single finger, a soldier with no training at all could now kill a kung fu master. Ying carried a
qiang, and with it the power of a dragon. Still, that hadn't been enough for Ying. He had carved his face
and filled the grooves with green pigment. He had forked his tongue and ground his teeth and nails into
sharp points. Ying now looked like a dragon. A crazy, vengeful sixteen-year-old dragon.

Malao shuddered and grabbed hold of a thick vine. He pushed off the slender maple and swung feetfirst
toward a large elm.

"Scatter into the four winds and uncover Ying's secrets, as well as your own," Grandmaster had told them.
"Uncover the past, for it is your future."

Malao released the vine and somersaulted onto one of the elm's upper limbs. Why did Grandmaster hide
only us five? he wondered. What makes us so special?

Grandmaster had provided only one clue. He'd said that Malao and his four brothers were linked to each
other, and to Ying. Malao guessed it had something to do with the fact that all of them, including Ying,
were orphans. Still, that didn't explain much. It wasn't like any of them could have had the same parents.
They were all too different.

Malao glanced down at his small, dark hands. He was a monkey-style kung fu master, nothing at all like
Fu, the oversized, over-aggressive twelve-year-old "tiger," or Seh, the tall, secretive twelve-year-old
"snake." He differed even more from Hok, the pale-skinned, logical twelve-year-old "crane," and Long, the
wise, muscular thirteen-year-old "dragon."

Malao sighed. He missed them already.

A twig snapped and Malao froze. He glanced around but couldn't see anything from high in the tree.
Cautiously, he swung down to the elm's lowest limb for a closer look. He peeked through a clump of new
foliage and his heart skipped a beat. This part of the forest looked awfully familiar. His plan had been to
travel in a straight line away from the temple, but he'd always been really bad with directions-

Another twig snapped.

Malao crouched low on the large limb and held his breath. A moment later, he saw a soldier on patrol. One
of Ying's soldiers.

Malao shivered. He'd run in a big circle, and now he was right back where he'd started, near Cangzhen!

The soldier was headed in Malao's direction. Malao watched him closely. Heavy armor covered the man's
body, and he carried a short wooden stick about as long as Malao's arm. Malao got a good look at the
stick as the soldier passed through a pool of moonlight. The stick was nearly as big around as a monk's
staff and was made from a very light-colored wood, white waxwood. The entire surface was decorated
with intricate carvings that had been colored brown with a hot piece of metal. The soldier was still some
distance away, but Malao knew exactly what those carvings were.

Monkeys.

Malao's upper lip curled back.

The warrior monks of Cangzhen Temple-or any temple, for that matter-were not allowed to have
personal possessions. Personal possessions meant a tie to the greedy world of men, so the monks
owned nothing and shared everything. However, within Cangzhen, weapons were an exception. Though
they weren't supposed to favor any one more than another, Cangzhen's warrior monks almost always
did. Malao's favorite was called a short stick, and the specific stick he preferred was now in that soldier's
right hand.

Malao hugged his knees tight and began to rock back and forth. That soldier had helped slaughter Malao's
friends and family and burn down the only home Malao had ever known. And now the soldier planned to
walk away with a souvenir. Malao wasn't about to let that happen.

As the soldier passed under his tree, Malao focused on the rhythm of the soldier's strides. When the
soldier's right arm went backward and his weight shifted to his left leg, Malao dropped from the tree like
an anvil.

THUD!

Malao's feet smashed into the back of the soldier's left knee and the knee buckled, slamming to the
ground. Malao grabbed the stick and flipped forward, twisting it out of the soldier's hand and leaping onto
a low-lying branch. He grinned at the soldier and waved the stick.

"Get down here, you little monkey!" the soldier said, staggering to his feet.

Malao shook his head and scurried to a higher branch.

"Don't play games with me, monk. I see your orange robe. You better not make me climb up there after
you."

Malao turned to leap to another tree when the soldier raised his voice. "I said get down here!"

Malao stopped. If the soldier raised his voice any louder, reinforcements might come. Malao had no
interest in fighting an entire garrison of soldiers. He needed to do something, fast. He zipped to the
opposite side of the tree so that he was directly behind the soldier, facing the same direction as the man,
and jumped straight down. He landed with one small foot on each of the soldier's shoulders.

The surprised soldier tilted his head up and grabbed on to Malao's robe.


Excerpted from Monkey by Jeff Stone Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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