No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart Book Review

 No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart and Allen Young
Illustrations by Nicole Wong
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Release Date: August 1, 2013

Everyone loves chocolate, right? But how many people actually know where chocolate comes from or how it is made? Or that monkeys have a very important role to play in making sure that chocolate continues to be a part of our desserts?

In perfect non-fiction picture book style, Stewart, Young, and Wong set out to show and tell their young readers the incredible ecosystem that exists in order to make chocolate from cocoa beans. Everything is connected from the pollen-sucking midge, to the aphid-munching anole lizard, to the brain-eating coffin fly maggots, to the monkeys.

The story begins with a birthday party in which massive amounts of chocolate are displayed, enough to get the mouth watering. From there, the story of chocolate grows. Nothing is left out. The entire life cycle of a cocoa plant is walked through, as well as every insect and animal that are effected. For added humor, there are two bookworms that help move the story along and reiterate important details. Each detail is carefully explained and stressed, because as the story shows, should one of these things not happen, we would no longer have chocolate.

This is a fantastic book that I can see both educators and children enjoying. There is a wealth of possibilities and subject matter that can be covered.