Skip to Main Content

Fourteen Monkeys

A Rain Forest Rhyme

Illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Travel to a tropical rainforest where fourteen species of monkeys live in harmony in this playful, fact-filled book from award-winning author Melissa Stewart and Caldecott honoree Steve Jenkins.

In Manú National Park in Peru, an amazing fourteen different species of monkeys live together. That’s more than in any other rainforest in the world! How can they coexist so well? Find out in this lyrical, rhyming picture book that explores each monkey’s habits, diet, and home, illustrating how this delicate ecosystem and its creatures live together in harmony. From howler monkeys to spider monkeys to night monkeys, young readers will love getting to know these incredible primates and seeing the amazing ways they share their forest.

Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 150 science books for children, including the celebrated Can An Aardvark Bark?, illustrated by Steve Jenkins. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biology from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and a master’s degree in science journalism from New York University, Melissa worked as a children’s book editor for nine years before becoming a full-time writer in 2000. While gathering information for her books, she has explored tropical rain forests in Costa Rica, gone on safari in East Africa, and swum with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands. She lives in Acton, Massachusetts.

Photograph by Robin Page

Steven Jenkins’s many celebrated children’s books include Can an Aardvark Bark? and Fourteen Monkeys by Melissa Stewart; Hello, Baby! by Mem Fox; Mama Built a Little Nest and Mama Dug a Little Den by Jennifer Ward; and the 2003 Caldecott Honor recipient, What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Robin Page. He lives in Boulder, Colorado. Visit him at SteveJenkinsBooks.com.

The wonder of 14 monkey species in Peru's Manú National Park is the basis for this whimsical, illuminating poem written and illustrated by the team behind Can an Aardvark Bark?, Melissa Sweet (Summertime Sleepers) and Steve Jenkins (Tiny Monsters). The poem, accompanied by supplemental text and bright, bold cut- and torn-paper collage illustrations, is a charming homage to the particularly large number of monkey species co-existing in the same rain forest.

For each species, author Stewart pairs a rhyming couplet in large font with a narrative paragraph in smaller font. The rhythmic lines of poetry highlight the location of the monkey in the rain forest and a fun fact about it: "Way up in the leafy crown/ woollys dangle upside down." The accompanying narrative text elaborates to give older or more invested readers a broader image of the primate: "To cross gaps, they hang by their tails and gently lower themselves to the next branch. They also swing by their tails to reach tasty fruit." Jenkins's vivid, textured illustrations marvelously complement Stewart's words. The realism in his detail is tangible; enough to make one want to stroke the fur of the spider monkey or nuzzle the face of the marmosets.  

Stewart and Jenkins have produced another stellar picture book. Location is key to the monkeys' co-existence, so Stewart includes an infographic that pinpoints where in the shared trees each monkey lives. Also included at the conclusion are pages providing additional information on each primate in the poem. Fourteen Monkeys, entertaining, informative and stimulating, exemplifies the characteristics of great nonfiction--it is a wonderful way to spark curiosity and start young readers on a life-long road of discovery. --Jen Forbus, freelancer

Discover: The creators of Can an Aardvark Bark? take readers on an enlightening and poetic tour of the incredible 14 monkey species co-existing in Peru's Manú National Park.

– Shelf Awareness

More books from this author: Melissa Stewart

More books from this illustrator: Steve Jenkins