The Horn Book
Her smoothly shaped narrative is developed as a continuous fantastical adventure of cosmic proportions; each chapter brings Monkey's humorous saga to a critical point, pulling the reader into the next episode. Jiang provides a tale that will be greatly enjoyed both as read-aloud fare and by individual readers, and in introductory author's note promises more to come
School Library Journal
Jiang's format serves the old tale better than the two picture-book retellings currently available.Jiang's is the best version for elementary school students, and libraries will want it as a good story for younger fantasy lovers, whether or not it is used as an introduction to authentic Chinese literature.
Clever, arrogant, far longer on appetite than attention span, Monkey makes an engaging antihero whose acquaintance young readers, of any cultural background, with a taste for trickster tales will be glad to make.
Grade 3-5. Monkey, born of both heaven and earth, is a lively trickster. Like all tricksters, he is quick-witted and full of himself, seeking knowledge and helping his people but also wreaking more than his share of havoc. In this cycle of related stories, readers learn of Monkey's miraculous birth, his bold success in finding a new home for his people, and his clever manipulations of his enemies and his betters--including Jade Emperor and other celestial bodies whom Monkey has tried to trick. It takes Buddha himself to rein Monkey in and lock him up until he learns from his mistakes. Jiang, the author of Red Scarf Girl (1997), provides a lively telling, and the stories move briskly.
One monkey stars in 18 traditional tales in The Magical Monkey King, retold by Ji-li Jiang, illustrated by Hui Hui Su-Kennedy. The short stories (each about five pages in length) are set in a large font with b&w illustrations reminiscent of Chinese prints.