Chakku the monkey chieftain tries to control his chubby tribe.
Living near a Buddhist temple in the hills means Chakku and his monkeys are regularly fed (and fed well) by pilgrims. His monkeys are getting so fat that they break the branches they sleep on. When Chakku overhears the human priest announce a day of fasting, the monkey chieftain decides his tribe must fast as well, mostly to lose weight but also for the spiritual benefits. Once he explains what fasting is, Chakku faces an all-out (if slightly sneaky) rebellion. On fast day, Bonnet suggests they meditate under the shade of the banana trees instead of in the sun. Macaque interrupts meditation to suggest they sit in the trees to be closer to heaven. Bonnet suggests they each just hold a banana to be ready when the fasting is over—and the fast ends pretty swiftly. Viswanath’s adaptation of an old Buddhist tale about temptation and dedication entertains with the extra emphasis on monkey weight loss (a twist not found in the original). Ranade’s hyperdistorted charcoal illustrations make the monkeys look like demonic pears and figs; though striking and evocative, they may trick readers into thinking they are spiders rather than monkeys. “Fun Facts About Fasting” follow the story.
An amusing folk tale equally suited to multicultural programming and wellness collections, if not monkey-themed storytimes. (Picture book/folk tale. 3-6)