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Tuki and Moka: A Tale of Two Tamarins

Tuki and Moka: A Tale of Two Tamarins

5.0 1
by Jim Madsen (Illustrator), Judy Young

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Eduardo and his family live in a small town in Ecuador, not far from the Amazon rainforest. The rainforest is an important part of their lives. Each month Eduardo and his father travel by river from their town to the rainforest. There, using just a basket and a machete, they gather Brazil nuts. They are castañeros and this is how they earn their living. But the


Eduardo and his family live in a small town in Ecuador, not far from the Amazon rainforest. The rainforest is an important part of their lives. Each month Eduardo and his father travel by river from their town to the rainforest. There, using just a basket and a machete, they gather Brazil nuts. They are castañeros and this is how they earn their living. But the rainforest is not only important to the castañeros; it is home to many exotic species of plants, birds, and mammals, including two playful tamarins that Eduardo has named Tuki and Moka. So although it is difficult work being a castañero, Eduardo looks forward to his visits to the rainforest so he can play with his two friends. But one night, the peace of the forest is threatened by poachers, animal traffickers who illegally capture and then try to sell some of the birds and animals. Can Eduardo save his friends?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this adventurous addition to the Tales of the World series, Young (A Pet for Miss Wright) takes readers to Ecuador, where a boy named Eduardo and his castañero father hunt for Brazil nuts to be sold at market. Eduardo is accompanied by Tuki and Moka, a pair of playful wild tamarins (small monkeys); during their travels, father and son notice several other native animals, including macaws, a tapir, and a large rodent called an agouti. One morning, Eduardo discovers that the macaws’ tree has been cut down, the birds likely stolen by animal traffickers; at the market, he learns that the traffickers have also taken the two tamarins, and he attempts a risky rescue. Young includes many details about Eduardo’s life in Ecuador, including the reality of animal trafficking, although the dialogue can be overly expository (“Brazil nut trees grow only in the rainforest and there are no roads here,” the boy tells his father). Madsen’s (Marvin Makes Music) illustrations are well-suited to the drama of the story and its lush setting, his craquelure-textured images glowing with light filtered through the rainforest trees. Ages 6–10. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
Ten-year-old Eduardo travels the river with his father as he gathers Brazil nuts in the rainforests where they live. The work is hard and requires that they journey by boat and are away from home for days or weeks at a time. Eduardo's grandmother is a skilled craftsperson and she can carve the outer shells of the nuts into shapes that attract buyers on their market days. The best part of being a castanero, or nut gatherer, is knowing and learning about all the animals in the forest. Tuki and Moka are tamarins who have become accustomed to Eduardo and his father and are not afraid of them. Tuki and Moka come out for a visit and a treat any time Eduardo is in the forest. So on the morning of their departure, it is unusual that the tamarins are nowhere to be found. Perhaps the noise of the falling tree in the night has frightened Eduardo's little friends and they have darted farther into the forest. Eduardo's father explains the fallen tree where the macaws always nest is the result of animal traffickers coming to the forest in the night to collect birds for market, even though such trading is illegal. Once Eduardo and his father arrive home, Eduardo helps his grandmother to set up her wares in the market and then is free to wander through the other tables and tents. Before the end of the story, ten-year-old Eduardo will make a great discovery and be called upon to be a very brave young man and a loyal friend. Author Young, a 2012 WILLA Literary award finalist, has a written a story that teaches readers about the rainforest and the animals who live there. In the process, she has also written a delightful tale about family life, loyalty and bravery. Madsen's illustrations of the forest in rich earth colors and detail enhance the story's appeal. Unfamiliar Spanish terms are included in the text in italics and the meaning is derived from the context. However, a glossary would have been a welcome addition to this volume. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—Eduardo and his father are castañeros, traveling from their small town in Ecuador up the river to gather Brazil nuts in the Amazonian rain forest. The boy enjoys these trips despite the dangers and befriends some macaws and two playful tamarins, Tuki and Moka. One night, traffickers capture the colorful birds and furry mammals. Upon returning to their village, Eduardo sees the poachers ready to load the stolen animals onto a truck and manages to engineer an escape for them. This story would be best shared in a group setting where there is ample opportunity to discuss the ethics of animal poaching and when it is appropriate for kids to take matters into their own hands. Madsen's images capture the lush beauty of the South American locale, although the illustrations of the human characters have a CGI quality.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
When animal hijackers capture his favorite tamarins, a young boy living near the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador comes to the rescue in this latest in the Tales of the World series. Traveling by river to their camp in the rain forest, Eduardo and his father earn their living as castañeros, gathering heavy pods from Brazil nut trees and chopping them to collect the nuts. Eduardo has bonded with two playful tamarins called Tuki and Moko and a family of scarlet macaws that nest near the camp. The morning Eduardo and his father return to town with a boatload of nuts, they find the macaws, Tuki and Moko missing. Eduardo's father suspects animal poachers. When Eduardo arrives at the town market, he follows the sound of familiar chattering into a tent where he discovers Tuki, Moko and macaws in cages and must use his wits to free them. With its pedagogical focus, the text touches on Brazil nut harvesting, unique rain-forest animals and rare-animal trafficking, and the author's note elaborates on each. Smooth, photorealistic illustrations appear digitally rendered and effectively capture the drama of the rain forest and its verdant flora and exotic fauna through an arresting use of light, shadow, color and perspective. This animal-poaching tale provides a purposive, engaging-enough introduction to Ecuador's rain forests. (author's note) (Picture book. 7-10)

Product Details

Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date:
Tales of the World
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
7 - 9 Years

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Tuki and Moka: A Tale of Two Tamarins 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Eduardo smiled as he glanced back at Tuki and Moka who sat on his shoulders. The tamarins were his friends, friends who kept him company in the “Amazon rainforest of Ecuador” as he gathered Brazil nuts with his father. Papá and Eduardo kept close watch for snakes below and falling pods as they crashed from the trees. “Being a castañro is a dangerous job!” declared his Papá, but only after they averted disaster. Their family had collected Brazil nuts for generations and ten-year-old Eduardo was the youngest. Tiki, who was a “lazy little thief,” held out his paw as he waited for Eduardo to crack open a nut for him. The rainforest was alive with life and activity. The tamarins were chattering, “the birds chirping and calling, and his father steadily chopping.” Tiki was lazy, but there was an agouti who could open the nuts by himself. Eduardo didn’t mind because, as he told the agouti, “You’ll forget where you bury some of those nuts and then more trees will grow.” Eduardo and Papá had to keep watch for the jaguars, but there was something else in the rainforest that was even more dangerous. Eduardo later heard a “thunderous crash” during the night. The animal traffickers had arrived to steal the macaws and their babies, but as a bonus they took Tuki and Moka. Would Eduardo be able to save them or would his friends be lost forever? This is the tale of Tuki and Moka, two tamarins who were taken by animal traffickers. Eduardo and the tamarins were fast friends, but they weren’t his pets. The dramatic tale of their capture by traffickers, who stole them to sell on the black market, will captivate young readers. The tale is enhanced by gorgeous, expressive artwork that is quite appealing. The picture book format draws in even the most reluctant reader, who will learn a bit about the history of Ecuador, its rainforest, wildlife, and the illegal animal trafficking trade. In the back of the book is an author’s note that gives additional information that can easily be used as a stepping stone for further research for a school report. Quill says: This is a captivating tale of Eduardo and his friends, Tuki and Moka, from the Tales of the World series that young readers will love!