The Making of Monkey King

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Beloved hero of Chinese tradition, the Monkey King is a flawed and audacious character—bold, cheeky and colorful. Here, in illustrated storybook form, are his adventures, this volume representing the first seven chapters of the Ming era epic, Journey to the West. Wenhai Ma's art evokes the mists of fairytale worlds. The playful antics of the story's protagonist and the complex weaving of the tale are rendered in a way that is appealing to young readers. Part of the publisher's "Adventures of Monkey King" series, this volume includes explanatory backmatter. A second volume, Monkey King Wreaks Havoc in Heaven, written by Chen alone, offers bilingual text in Chinese and English, although no author notes, and boasts somewhat tighter format and a stronger story voice. 1998, Pan Asian Publications, $16.95. Ages 7 to 11. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5--For centuries, action-packed tales about the Monkey King circulated, recounting his rise to power, his cosmic mischief, and his final role as one of the holy monk's companions. In the 16th century, poet and civil servant Wu Cheng'en organized the Monkey King's exploits into an epic novel, Journey to the West. The retellers abbreviate the first few chapters of Wu's novel into text for a picture book. Monkey King is born on the mountain of fruit and flowers, becomes king of other monkeys living there, leaves his kingdom to seek the secrets of immortality, and returns with greater power, ready to drive away the Demon of Chaos, who has enslaved his subjects. The simian hero's fantastic, extravagant adventures, known through film and cartoon to a vast modern audience in China, present formidable challenges to the illustrator. Ma makes a workmanlike attempt that is authentic but too literal to do its subject justice. Trying to portray too many events on one page results in a somewhat scattered and confused composition, which weakens the drama of the story. However, because this is the best picture-book version of the story to date, libraries needing authentic Chinese stories for younger children would do well to consider it, even if they already own R. L. Gao's Adventures of Monkey King (Victory, 1989) or Jill Morris's Monkey and the White Bone Demon, (Viking, 1984; o.p.). This picture book is the first in a series so one can assume that the story cycle will continue.--Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572270459
  • Publisher: Pan Asian Publications (U S A), Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Language: Chinese
  • Series: Adventures of Monkey King Series
  • Edition description: BILINGUAL
  • Pages: 34
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.78 (w) x 11.24 (h) x 0.34 (d)

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