Gr 3-4-Monkey King is trouble from the start. Not content with his little kingdom of Flower Fruit Mountain, he sets out to get himself a weapon of conquest. He finds one in Ruyi, a golden staff that adjusts its size on the whim of the owner. Unfortunately, the staff is the property of the Dragon King, and its theft by the Monkey King sends the owner up to Heaven to complain. The Jade Emperor of Heaven attempts to intercede, resulting in the chaos of the title. Only the all-wise Buddha can control the obstreperous Monkey King, and it is he who finally intercedes to bring peace. This retelling of a Chinese folktale is written in workmanlike, pedestrian prose in both languages. The telling is straightforward, making sound use of dialogue, but lacks pizzazz. This, along with the length of the text, makes it best suited for independent reading. Ma's detailed pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations, painted in soft, clear hues, are attractive and help to balance the rather small, dense typeface. For those who have purchased Robert Kraus and Debby Chen's The Making of Monkey King (Pan Asian, 1998), this companion story may be popular. It can serve as part of a comparative unit about tricksters, looking, for example, at the Native American Coyote in Janet Stevens's Coyote Steals the Blanket (Holiday, 1993) or Paul Goble's "Iktomi" stories (Orchard). However, for general reading, it's strictly an additional purchase. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.