As soon as we saw the cover of Cloud Tea Monkeys, we were all captivated by the beautiful artwork and intriguing title. In the past three months, we have read the book many, many times. Every time, we are delighted with the story, the illustrations and the many discussions that are inspired by this tale.
Cloud Tea Monkeys is the story of a girl named Tashi, who lives with her mother, a tea picker in the Himalayas. During her regular trips to the tea plantation with her mother, Tashi observes some of the socioeconomic realities of rural, physical labor and also befriends the resident troop of monkeys. When illness brings hardship to her family, Tashi tries to help but is met with difficulties because of her size. She finds that her friends understand more than most would give them credit for: they help her in a way that she probably never imagined possible. Armed with the special gift from her friends and her own intuition on how to act in new situations, she discovers somethings just as surprising: not all people in power are cruel and unkind; and that some things are best left unexplained.
Cloud Tea Monkeys is the perfect blend of reality and myth, known and unknown, history and legend. We love this book because it gave us a peek into another culture, into other worlds, into others’ lives. Thanks to the authors, Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham (I hope you “meet in the middle” for more collaborations), and the illustrator, Juan Wijngaard, for your fabulous work. We look forward to more from you.