No Monkeys, No Chocolate
by Melissa Stewart
and Allen Young
Charlesbridge, 2013
for ages 5-8
ISBN 978-1-58089-287-2
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Melissa Stewart's Revision Timeline

Secret Note
Which One Is Different?
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What does a capuchin monkey have in common with a pollen-sucking midge, an aphid-munching anole lizard, and brain-eating coffin fly maggots? Chocolate! Our favorite dessert comes from cocoa beans, which grow on cocoa trees in tropical rain forests. And those trees couldn’t survive without help from a menagerie of rain forest critters. This book tells their story.

Listen to this interview about No Monkeys, No Chocolate
on WICN.
Check out this Interactive Timeline to discover the story behind No Monkeys, No Chocolate.
Take a look at Melissa’s No Monkeys, No Chocolate pinterest board for more resources and teaching ideas.
Honors and Awards
Arizona Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee
Authors for Earth Day's Eco Book of the Month
diamond Bank Street College Center for Children's Literature Best Children’s Books of the Year
CBC Best Books of the Year
Cook Prize for Best STEM Picture Book Finalist
Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices List
Green Earth Book Award, Recommended Book
Junior Library Guild selection
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2013
National Science Teachers Association-Children’s Book Council Outstanding Science Trade Book
National Science Teachers Association Recommended Title
Nerdy Book Club Book Award finalist
Reading Is Fundamental STEAM Multicultural Collection
Starred review, Library Media Connection
Virginia’s Capitol Choices’ Noteworthy Title for Children and Teens
Research Notes
“During an afternoon walk in 2003, I literally stopped to smell the roses and was startled by what I saw—aphids sucking sap, ladybugs devouring the aphids, ants battling the ladybugs.
The thriving, active microhabitat inspired me to write a manuscript called Wild Rose Café.

But after many rejections, I realized that I need to focus on an impossible-to-resist plant.
I found that plant—the cocoa tree—during a 2005 trip to Costa Rica.

When I returned home, I scoured the scientific literature for the facts I needed—what pollinates cocoa, what disperses its seeds, what attacks its foliage. But I came up empty. No one had documented this information.

At last I tracked down Allen Young, the world’s leading expert on cocoa-tree pollination and growth. He had all the information I needed and agreed to be my co-author. That’s when the work really began.

I wrote and revised, wrote and revised, trying many different story structures. I kept asking myself, “What’s the most engaging way to convey this information?” By 2008 I knew the book would feature layered text with a “House That Jack Built” feel, but something was still missing. Some of the complex ideas needed reinforcing. How could I do that without being didactic?

The solution came from my nieces—sort of. They were discussing Halloween costume ideas and asked for suggestions. I said that one year their dad (my brother) won a prize for dressing up like the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show.

Did they want to be Kermit and Miss Piggy? No. How about Statler and Waldorf, the two old guys in the balcony? As they giggled, something clicked in my mind. That’s what my book needed—characters to comment on the text and add humor. But not old guys. It needed bookworms! With the final piece in place, No Monkeys, No Chocolate was born.

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