Fourteen Monkeys
A Rain Forest Rhyme
Welcome to Manú National Park in Peru, where an astonishing fourteen different species of monkeys live together. That’s more than in any other rain forest on Earth! How can so many species survive together in place? Find out in this playful, rhyming picture book that explores each monkey’s habits, diet, and home territory, illustrating how this delicate ecosystem and its creatures live in harmony. From howler monkeys to spider monkeys to night monkeys, young readers will love getting to know these incredible primates and discovering the amazing ways they share their forest.
Honors and Awards
Junior Library Guild selection
Publisher’s Weekly Recommended Environmental Kids’ Books for 2021
“Captivating, informative, and useful … Each species, aptly shown in an arboreal setting, is introduced and identified via a charming boldfaced couplet; text set in a smaller font provides more-substantive information. … Jenkins' signature splendid illustrations, cut- and torn-paper collages, realistically depict the monkeys as colorful, lively, wide-eyed, winsome, and endearing; fur appears palpably plush.”
—Kirkus Reviews
Behind the Book
“This book was inspired by a single paragraph in The Life of Mammals by David Attenborough. It explained how a half dozen species of guenon monkeys can all live together in the forests of Africa because they have different lifestyles and habits. As I was reading this passage, I immediately thought of the fun poem “10 Little Monkeys” and wondered if I could create a nonfiction version with facts about this group of monkeys.
“That idea didn't work out, but I was so fascinated by monkeys that I kept doing research and talking about them every chance I got. Eventually, my friend and children’s book illustrator Katy Tanis, who is on a quest to see every monkey species in the world in its natural environment, suggested that I read High Moon over the Amazon: My Quest to Understand the Monkeys of the Night by Patricia Wright. That book led me to the very special community of monkeys that inhabit Manú National Park in Peru. The more I learned about them, the more convinced I became that they were the perfect fit for the book I wanted to write.
“While the text doesn’t follow the same meter as ‘10 Little Monkeys,’ you can see the influence if you look closely. Because I knew curious kids would want to know more about the monkeys than I could possibly incorporate into the poetic main text, I added secondary text full of additional details as well as rich backmatter bursting with even more information.
“Manú National Park isn't open to visitors, but as I was researching the book, I was able to interview a scientist who spent time there. I also drew upon my experience observing wildlife in the rain forests of Costa Rica, where I was lucky enough to spend time watching three of the species included in Fourteen Monkeys.”
Fourteen Monkeys
by Melissa Stewart
illus by Steve Jenkins
Beach Lane Books /
Simon & Schuster, 2021
for ages 5-9
ISBN 978-1-53446-039-3
Purchase this book at your local independent bookseller or
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