Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Book Review: Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham; illustrated by Juan Winjgaard
This poignant tale is filled with lush, descriptive language as fragrant as the mysterious Cloud Tea. And Juan Winjgaard's detailed, gorgeous illustrations capture the emotion and heart of the story, and so perfectly aided my daughters' understanding of key parts of the story. This is one of those perfect marriages of text and illustrations.
As I read this book aloud to my daughters, I was struck by the realistic portrayal of Tashi's and her mother's life. The writing is so descriptive I could feel the morning chill that burned away to "cruel" heat, the fear in Tashi as she listened to her mother cough, the fear of no money available for a doctor, the weight of the basket she dragged to the tea plantation, her crushing disappointment at not being allowed to pick tea in place of her mother. (You know it's descriptive when your children try to breathe in the tea clouds as you read.) And I marvelled at Winjgaard's talent for capturing all the emotional nuances of the story. My daughters sat enthralled throughout.
Hope Is the Word