written by Melissa Stewart & Allen Young
illustrated by Nicole Wong
Inside Jacket: When you think of chocolate, you might think of a candy bar, a birthday cake, or a glass of chocolate milk. But where does chocolate comes from? Its main ingredient is actually the cocoa bean, which grows in tropical rain forests. These trees can’t survive without the help of the animals and other living things that share their habitat. The seeds, pods, flowers, leaves, stems, and roots of the cocoa tree depend on organisms like the pollen-sucking midge, the aphid-munching anole, and yes, even the brain-eating coffin fly. In the rain forest, every living thing has as important part to play. Even the monkeys.
Opening: Chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate ice cream. Moist, fudgy brownies. What makes all these desserts so delicious? Chocolate, of course. But you can’t make chocolate without . . . cocoa beans.
About the Story: Cocoa beans are the seeds of a cocoa tree, which grow in the tropical rain forests of South and Central America. First the beans are dried in the sn, then roasted, and smashed into paste, with the liquid squeezed out. Then other ingredients are mix in to make it assorted kinds of chocolate. Than is the process, but how do we get the cocoa bean to grow for our chocolate? The process of getting the cocoa bean is the subject of this nonfiction picture book. In reverse fashion, we learn how the coca bean grows from seed to chocolate.
The cocoa bean is in the cocoa pod—the fruit of the tree. The cocoa pod needs the cocoa flowers (and midges), which need the cocoa leaves (and maggots), which need the cocoa stem (and lizards), which needs the cocoa roots (and fungi). The cocoa pods, flowers, leaves, stems, and roots . . . ad monkeys. Thus, no monkeys, no chocolate.
What I Thought: No Monkeys, No Chocolate is very informative and at times a bit gross, which kids generally like. I love chocolate and have been to a rain forest. I would never have thought that the monkeys howling in those tall trees would have anything to do with the chocolate I would buy at a family market the next day. This story also shows how often living things are interconnected. We may see that in the human world to some extent, but rarely put a lot of thought into how living things are interconnected and work together to make our food. We say corn comes from corn plants, which come from corn seeds. Apples come from apple trees, which come from apple seeds. Usually that is the extent of our thought. Yet, our food has many more things involved than just the plant and seeds.No Monkeys, No Chocolate explains this in a way children—and adults—can understand.
I love the illustrations. Running edge-to-edge, the images are life-like and close-up so every detail of a leaf, cocoa pod, and the monkey—as he scatters cocoa beans onto the jungle floor-can be seen. This subject could be dry if not for the a pair of bookworms running commentary in the upturned bottom right corner of each spread.
“Is a cocoa pod like an iPod,” he asks
“Very funny. No, it’s more like a pea pod,” she replied.
I really like those two bookworms. The comic relief they provide breaks up the serious information. The commentary runs right along with the spread’s information, so in a way they reinforce the subject with their comedic remarks, helping the reader remember the information. If one is not observant, it could take a while to notice these two bookworms. Their comments run cover to cover. More aspiring authors there is a timeline from the author’s inspiration to the publishing of No Monkeys, No Chocolate. (click here)
No Monkeys, No Chocolate would make a good text in a biology or botany sections of science classes for youngsters. The book is a good example of the interdependence of living things in an ecosystem—nothing exists in a vacuum. They will be more receptive to this kind of “text” than the usually large tomes used by school systems. No Monkeys, No Chocolate is a nice picture book for home schooling families and for kids who like to learn. After the story, the author wrote more about cocoa and rain forests, including how kids can help keep rain forests alive and thriving Like On a Beam of Light, No Monkeys, No Chocolate is terrific nonfiction that makes learning fun.
Junior Library Guild Selection
A Teacher’s Guide with Common Core Curriculum Links
No Monkeys, No Chocolate
by Melissa Stewart & Allen Young website For Kids ONLY!
Nicole Wong, illustrator website
Charlesbridge website blog facebook twitter
Ages: 5 to 8
© 2013 by Charlesbridge, used with permission
Text copyright © 2013 by Melissa Stewart & Allen Young
Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Nicole Wong
- Review: No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart (wakingbraincells.com)
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Can’t wait to read this book! Thanks for such a great review.
What an outstanding book! Monkeys and chocolate and bookworms! Oh my!
There can never be TOO much chocolate in the world! Now I know I can thank the monkeys!
If I have read this correctly, and I always do, which is why I review, you must have a monkey if you want chocolate. No monkey in the house, no chocolate. I have quick ordered my monkey. Amazon has them for half off this month. 🙂
I suppose Lobo could find his own monkey (though I am sure Amazon has a store everywhere), but chocolate is bad and even possibly lethal for dogs and Lobo is a “re”scendant of the dog (as opposed to dogs being descendants of the wolf (Lobo). 😆
Yes, it is true that chocolate can prove fatal to members of the Canidae family. But…I live in a fictitious world….and in MY world we eat chocolate, lots of chocolate with no harmful effects! Hooray for chocolate! I just want to thank the monkeys. I don’t care to own one. : p
I’m not a big chocolate fan, but anything about the rainforest and its ecosystems should be welcome in classroom libraries and science classes. Great choice, Sue!
I agree, with the rainforests and ecosystems, not the chocolate. I love chocolate! But it is bad for dogs, so Cupcake can listen to the book, but not indulge either. This is a great book for science teachers. The text goes more in depth than what I probably explained.
This looks like a great book! 😀
No Monkey, No Chocolate is a great book and it is one I got to review before you–for a change. Sheesh Erik, everytime I stop by your site you are reviewing a book I have in my queue. What will it take to get you to let me review a book before you do? Wait, are you spying my queue? What insidious little worm have you put in my queue? No wonder when I think one book is due another pops up! You are rearranging my queue! That is simply dastardly. **Wish I’d of thought of it.**
You read much, much faster than I probably ever could. I think the score is now 2 (me) and 12 (you). Hm. Somehow, someway, somewhere, someday I will get you ThisKid who ReviewsBooks! 😡
I don’t think I was offered No Monkeys, No Chocolate. 😛 *blows raspberry*
Nyah nyah nyah nyah! You can’t catch me! 😉
Honestly, I think that you just get more book reviews than I, The Kid Who Reviews Books. 🙂
This looks like a great book – and using chocolate as the subject behind the learning will definitely appeal to kids. Thanks for the great review!
I hadn’t thought of this, but since the story of chocolate is told in reverse, you could probably read it forward or backward. 😆
Sue, this sounds like a positive book, all around 🙂 I definitely think it’s good for kids (and adults) to learn more about the inter-dependence of life forms on earth. In fact, our own food supply could be detrimentally impacted by the lack of bee populations due to pesticides 😦
I did actually notice the upturned page corner in the first illustration, but couldn’t tell they were bookworms. I LOVE bookworms 🙂 Also, as an aside, for any of you who don’t know the terminology: in a book, when the illustration or any picture runs off the edges of the page, it is called a “bleed.” I thought you might appreciate that bit of info 🙂
And now, in honor of monkeys and chocolate, I will proceed to eat another Mallomar 🙂 hehehe
What can I say. Oh, I know, you didn’t share that Mallomar! 😦
The upturned page actually starts on the cover and continues thru to the back cover. These bookworms are great comic relief (though no relief is actually needed). I know what a bleed is but often prefer to use terms I know everyone will understand–plus that way I ensure I do not use a term incorrectly, which I have been know to do. 🙂