A village requests their aid due to a mythical creature who appears once a year and wreaks havoc. Wen takes Kai to the library where she is sure they will find something to help the village. Kai, however, becomes impatient and begins to explore on her own. She finds a scroll about the Monkey King, and decides to request his aid in defeating the creature plaguing the village. However, things do not go as she planned.
What I loved: This book immediately draws the reader in and successfully delivers an engrossing story full of action/adventure and with some small lessons about listening to your elders/parents, learning who to trust, the value of books, and having more patience. The illustrations are gorgeous in Todd-Stanton's typical style, with loads of details and expressive characters. The story leaps off the pages. Even readers who are too young to enjoy the story can adore the lovely and detailed images that grace every page.
The text itself flows beautifully. This is the perfect length for the kindergarten and early elementary crowd to enjoy listening to (may be too difficult to read to themselves), but the storyline is fantastic and easy to follow. There's also a bit of a cliffhanger at the end (small one) that will leave readers clamoring for more.
Final verdict: Imaginative, engrossing, and beautifully illustrated, KAI AND THE MONKEY KING is a fantastic picture book that will appeal to kindergartners and early elementary school readers. Highly recommend picking this up for any children who love adventure, mythology, and a brave, young heroine. The added messages of patience and other valuable lessons are a bonus.