A Buddhist jataka tale shows how the unselfish behavior of a monkey king inspires a selfish human ruler to become more...

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THE MONKEY BRIDGE

A Buddhist jataka tale shows how the unselfish behavior of a monkey king inspires a selfish human ruler to become more generous. The monkey king and his subjects live in a tree whose fruit is indescribably delicious. Despite their efforts to protect the fruit, an apple falls into the river Ganges and escapes, only to be discovered by the human king. One bite sets him rowing in search of the fruit tree. When the human king spies it, and its inhabitants, his bowmen draw their arrows. But the monkey king stretches his body across the water forming a bridge so his subjects can escape. The human king is so moved by the monkey king's behavior that he rescues him and agrees to forget the tree and the taste of its fruit. In turn, the monkey king gives away a seed of the tree, which in time grows to bear fruit of its own. The illustrations mimic the style of Indian miniatures, but are larger and more expressive; these monkeys aren't decorative--they kiss, tickle, and groom each other. Their individuality suits this lyrical story and its emphasis not on a leader's rank, but on the qualities of the leader that prove him deserving of his position.

Pub Date: May 1, 1997

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1997