Kirkus Reviews QR Code


From the Monkey King series, volume 1

by Wei Dong Chen & illustrated by Chao Peng

Age Range: 8 - 16

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-89-94208-69-5
Publisher: JR* Comics

All monkeys are beautiful. Not everyone knows this, but the dynamic, textured artwork in this book will convince them.

When the Monkey King walks into the Palace of the East Sea, he says: “Ha ha! I am Sun Wu Kong, the Handsome Monkey King of Spring Mountain!” Those two sentences tell readers everything they need to know about Sun Wu Kong. He’s vain, he’s always amused, and he speaks in exclamation points. He’s come to the palace to borrow a weapon that weighs 9 tons, and he never doubts that he’ll be able to lift it. Before the book is over, he’s battled the King of Hell, Crown Prince Ne Zha and the Evil King. The story is hundreds of years old (it’s based on the Chinese novel The Journey to the West), but it follows the structure of a video game, with the Monkey King facing a more powerful fighter with each round, and carries roughly the same moral lesson. Each book in the series has its own lesson and, in fact, its own writing style. Volume three is about the Monkey King’s efforts to learn mercy and compassion. They do not come easily to a warrior monkey. Though the dialogue is sometimes flat, the pictures tell a rich and captivating story on their own.

There may be children in the world who don’t wish they were monkeys. This book will change their minds. (character guide, synopsis, thematic essay) (Graphic classic. 8-16