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The Monkey King: A Superhero Tale of China, Retold from The Journey to the West (Ancient Fantasy) [Paperback]

Aaron Shepard
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

Price: $5.00 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Book Description

January 1, 2008 0938497413 978-0938497417 10 and up 5 and up
If you think Superman or Spiderman has been around a long time, think about Monkey. He has been China's favorite superhero for at least five centuries. He's amazingly strong, he can fly, and he has a few tricks those other superheroes never heard of. And he's always ready to do battle with demons, dragons -- sometimes even the gods. 
Monkey stars in The Journey to the West, an epic comic fantasy from the sixteenth century. The part retold here is about Monkey's origin and early career -- and the one time he didn't come out on top. 
For ages 10 and up. Not illustrated!
Aaron Shepard is the award-winning author of "The Baker's Dozen," "The Sea King's Daughter," "The Monkey King," and many more children's books. His stories have appeared often in Cricket magazine, while his Web site is known internationally as a prime resource for folktales, storytelling, and reader's theater. Once a professional storyteller, Aaron specializes in lively retellings of folktales and other traditional literature, which have won him honors from the American Library Association, the New York Public Library, the Bank Street College of Education, the National Council for the Social Studies, and the American Folklore Society.
Cover artist Xiaojun Li, a native of Inner Mongolia, was an award-winning children's book illustrator and art director in China before moving to the United States.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

"Shepard's Ancient Fantasy series retells portions of epic narratives sure to pique kids' interest. He cannily selects episodes likely to grab the attention of a wide range of middle-graders, [while] his storytelling voice varies to hint at the style of the original. These mini-novels would make fun classroom readalouds, too. No dumb-downs . . . Rated S for Snapped Up." -- S. C. Poe, Route 19 Writers (blog), Apr. 4, 2012
"Here I am, only four hundred years old," said the Monkey King, "and I've already reached the heights of greatness. What is left to hope and strive for? What can be higher than a king?" 
"Your Majesty," said the gibbon carefully, "we have ever been grateful for that time four centuries ago when you hatched from the stone, wandered into our midst, and found for us this hidden cave behind the waterfall. We made you our king as the greatest honor we could bestow. Still, I must tell you that kings are not the highest of beings." 
"They're not?" said the Monkey King. 
"No, Your Majesty. Above them are gods, who dwell in Heaven and govern Earth. Then there are Immortals, who have gained great powers and live forever. And finally there are Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, who have conquered illusion and escaped rebirth." 
"Wonderful!" cried the Monkey King. "Maybe I can become all three!" He considered a moment, then said, "I think I'll start with the Immortals. I'll search the earth till I've found one, then learn to become one myself!"
#1 ~ THE MOUNTAIN OF MARVELS: A Celtic Tale of Magic, Retold from The Mabinogion. The story of the magical lady Rhiannon, the king who loved her, and the magician who hated and aimed to destroy them.
#2 ~ THE SONGS OF POWER: A Finnish Tale of Magic, Retold from the Kalevala. In a story born in the time of shamans, two magical heroes vie for the hand of a maiden and wind up battling her mother, whose powers rival their own.
#3 ~ THE MAGIC FLYSWATTER: A Superhero Tale of Africa, Retold from the Mwindo Epic. Mwindo's father, the chief, never wanted a son and tries to get rid of him -- but Mwindo has other ideas, as well as the powers to make them happen.
#4 ~ THE MONKEY KING: A Superhero Tale of China, Retold from The Journey to the West. From a comic epic about one of the most popular characters of all time. When Monkey decides he wants to become a god, Heaven had better watch out!

About the Author

See above.

Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Ancient Fantasy (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 44 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhook Press (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0938497413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0938497417
  • Product Dimensions: 0.1 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aaron Shepard is the award-winning author of numerous children's books, as well as books on reader's theater, children's writing, and publishing. He lives with his wife and fellow author, Anne L. Watson, in Friday Harbor, Washington.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start here to understand China... February 18, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The universally known stories in a culture have a profound and lasting influence in the mindset of growing children they are told to, and mark the continuity of tradition when repeated to their own children. This is true in every culture and this story is the ultimate in Chinese children stories. Not only does this story contain numerous character studies, conflicts and scenes that have entered into linguistic/world view idiom, but hidden inside this story are cryptic allusions to deep Buddhist and Taoist training. The full version of this story has 100 books and some authors have considered this story on par with such classics as the Tao-Te-Ching.

This version is a good introduction to this story, the sort to give you a taste or to read to a child. I have a dozen versions of this story and while this is not my choice as the best short-popular version, it is close. Further, this author has released this text for the Kindle for 1 penny! This is the world's greatest bargain. Absolutely everyone should load this on their reader...

As an aside...

I hope that many like myself will purchase his dead tree version of the book and put it on their shelf, prove to publishers and Amazon that this is a good economic model. May many more authors release inexpensive e-book versions of texts as a promotion of their work. There is presently a vast quantity of high quality free audio books by authors trying to break in or grow their base, for traditionally published material. I regularly purchase texts that I have listened to or heard for free on the NPR Radio Reader program.

I personally have been less than enthused with the universal $10 price for kindle books, the overall reading experience and utility is not the equivalent of a paper book. Given that 99.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read For All June 5, 2008
This is a story about a monkey who was born from a magic boulder, that was bathed in the energies of Earth and Heaven, quickened by the light of the Sun and Moon. He became known as the Monkey King when he wandered into the midst of other monkey's and found them a safe home in a cave behind a waterfall. The other monkey's made him their King, which is the highest honor they could bestow on him.

It was on the Monkey King's four hundred birthday that he sat complaining that he had reached the heights of greatness. "What is left to hope and strive for he asked?" The Monkey King was told that above them are Gods, who dwell in Heaven and Earth. Then there are Immortals, who have gained great powers and live forever. And finally there are Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, who have conquered illusion and escaped rebirth.

That information was enough for the Monkey King to set off on his own course of action. To become not just a God or Immortal, but to become a Buddhas. He wanted it all. Nothing would stop him until he could attained what he wanted.

Even though the Monkey King studied hard he would always manage to get himself into trouble time and time again. At the end of this book we find the Monkey King pinned between stone walls. His head and arms are out, but the rest of his body was hopelessly trapped.

What kind of trouble did the Monkey King get into to find himself trapped? Was it his faith to be pinned between the stone walls forever? I can only say you must read this book for yourself to find the answers.

Monkey, is the most popular figure in all Chinese literature, loved for centuries by both young and old. Even in todays world Monkey is still cherished in the Chinese culture.

What a wonderful way to expose and broaden the minds of our young people and adults. To be transported to another place and time. To experience stories that have lasted for centuries.

Sandra Heptinstall, LA
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Teacher to students February 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'm reading this weekly with my third grade students. I personally enjoy the story, but can't believe how much they're into it. I thought without pictures I'd be in for some trouble because this is my first time with a Kindle book on the projector. Yet, it works.

Initially, I began reading the story with my booming stage voice to keep them interested, but I looked around and saw ten hands raised. I thought they were just going to bug me about getting water so they could get away so I ignored them for a bit. Then, one student blurted, "Can I read?" Well...sure. This continued until just about everyone in the room read a page.

Now, I read first and the others read it after I've completed a few pages. They're really into it and learning some huge words at the same time. But I don't have to define too much so it works out.

My class loves this.

On a more personal note, I had no clue how much Dragon Ball ripped from Sun Wukong. I was amazed and thrilled to read it. It keeps me entertained with or without the kids. I get a little upset when they ask me a question while we're reading it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely translation of the classic chinese story! September 21, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a GREAT translation of the classic Chinese story of the Monkey King. My children absolutely LOVED it! It was translated into English with all the nuances and charm of the original Chinese.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A funny story of various adventures May 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a humorous retelling of a 16th century Chinese tale, or at least this is what we are told. Monkey is a kind of superman, but he doesn't seem all that bright. His parent was a magic stone, which being a stone could not talk and never gave him a name. He served as a king for some four hundred years but became bored and wanted a higher position. He went to learn with the Patriarch who taught him magic arts and made him immortal. Then he decided he wanted to be a god. His adventures are sometimes ridiculous but always funny and many readers will enjoy them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting story
it is a very interesting story. I can teach my son more about chinese culture. My son like it very much.
Published 1 month ago by Wai Chun Chiang
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
I love this book because I can sit and read it on a very long car ride and it will feel like a couple of seconds like I did the first time I read this . By: Raven Byrd .
Published 1 month ago by Nara
5.0 out of 5 stars The Monkey king by Samuel Yarde.
I like this book because it is a tale about the monkey king and I will give this book to my mom and sister because I hope they like it.
Published 1 month ago by Samuel Yarde
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure Fun!
This is an excellent retelling of a 16th century Chinese fable.
Highly recommended for both the young and the young-at-heart.
Published 1 month ago by Edwina Callan
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute for Kids
A nice introduction to the Monkey King. It would be good for children as an easy read or a cute bedtime story.
Published 2 months ago by SifuJon
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing piece of Chinese folklore
Had seen the movie The Forbidden Kingdom which depicts the story of the monkey king and was pleasantly surprised to find that the story was taken from the fables as told in this... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tyro
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to Monkey King
Very fun read. Please note this is only the first few chapters, not the compete saga, but it's a M good introduction to the fable.
Published 2 months ago by Bruce.R.
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit oversimplified
I do realize that Journey to the West is an epic tale and this serves as an intro to one of its most memorable characters however I feel that this was just a bit... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Steven Go
5.0 out of 5 stars A Re-Telling of an Ancient Fantasy
The author states that this is a re-telling of the first few chapters of "Journey Into the West. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Zizi
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting
I read this book because I was looking for an interesting story to share with my class. The story is very exciting and will generate plenty of curiosity and discussions. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Cheryl T. Smith
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