FICTION

Kai and the Monkey King

Flying Eye. (Brownstone’s Mythical Collection: Bk. 3). Oct. 2019. 56p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781912497119.
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K-Gr 2–The latest tale from the vaults of the Brownstone’s extensive family history recalls the adventure of Kai and her mother Wen in ancient China. While traveling, the two come upon a village terrorized by the massive, fiery, lion-like Nian. To defeat it, they research at the library, where Kai discovers a scroll that explains how to free Sun Wùkong, the Monkey King. Sadly, the Monkey King proves less than helpful, and Kai leaves to help the village as best she can. Like the Monkey King, Kai is arrogant, which creates problems, but unlike him, she realizes her mistake. Using the myth of the Monkey King, Todd-Stanton opens a dialogue about heroes. “Beasts” can be beaten by regular people if they use their heads and work together. In fact, they are often more reliable heroes than any legendary figure. This graphic novel–like tale features gorgeous illustrations, a magical, cinematic palette. Todd-Stanton has a keen eye for framing; this book looks almost like a hand-drawn animated work.
VERDICT For those who love adventures based in mythology, this picture book for older readers is a must-have.

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