Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet
Published February 1, 2010
Plot Description: Tashi lives in a tiny village at the foot of the mountains, below the tea plantations where her mother works. When her mother falls ill, Tashi goes alone to the plantation, hoping to earn money for the doctor. But she is far too small to harvest the tender shoots, and her clumsy efforts anger the cruel Overseer. Alone and desolate, the monkeys she has befriended takes he basket, isolating her even more. Little does she know that the monkeys are trying to help her out by picking the rarest and hardest to reach tea of all. The emperor’s tea taster visits the plantation and is so shocked by what is in Tashi’s basket that he promises that her and her mother will never go wanting if she keeps the emperor supplied in this rare tea. This is a great story inspired by centuries old legends of the famous tea-picking monkeys.
Evaluation: Here is another media item that can be used to help students understand a bit more about Chinese culture and heritage with a story with ties to a classic Chinese legend. It also shows how many people use to life, and how some still do life, in remote part of China, and helps give students who might not otherwise be exposed to that part of the world a better understanding of it.
Quantitative Reading Level: Grades K-3
Content Area: History/Social Science
TEKS Subject Standard: SS 1.15A