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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
The Monkeys of Kapok by T.H. Wunder is an exciting action-adventure YA novel set in the Brazilian rainforest that entertains and inspires readers. Meet a young squirrel monkey named Saimiri, who has lost his family and is now trying to find them. Along the way, he meets some interesting characters, like a regal jaguar named Onca, kapok monkeys, a quick-witted dart frog (named Dart of course), and others. The monkeys of kapok need protection from the destructive Humanos, fierce hunters, and deadly predators, and Saimiri helps them. Besides bringing attention to saving the rainforest, there is a mystery involving Quetzalcoatl and the great Toltec (a wise bird) that the friends have to unravel. Any child who has yearned to belong will connect with these characters and the scenario.
This awesome book is a cut above most stories for young readers. It challenges young audiences in a way that most don't, and never talks down to them or spoon-feeds them the story. Wunder has a way of involving the reader in the storyline so that you care about the characters and what's going on in the bigger picture. Combining entertainment with social issues isn't always easy, especially for a younger audience, but this author does it with aplomb. So well, in fact, that it's safe to say readers of any age will enjoy this book. It's perfect for the classroom as part of a curriculum or reading on its own for fun. You'll come to care about the young squirrel monkey and his friends and come away knowing that authors like Wunder care about a child's education as well as their imagination. For a YA book with heart and a message, pick up The Monkeys of Kapok by T.H. Wunder today.