Jeff Stone practices the martial arts daily. He has worked as a photographer, an editor, a maintenance man, a technical writer, a ballroom dance instructor, a concert promoter, and a marketing director for companies that design schools, libraries, and skateboard parks. Like the heroes of The Five Ancestors series, Mr. Stone was adopted when he was an infant. He began searching for his birthmother when he was 18; he found her 15 years later. The author lives with his wife and two children in Carmel, IN. From the Hardcover edition.
Gr 5-9-Set in medieval China, each book in this series focuses on one of five young orphan monks. Each one is named after a specific animal and is learning a kung-fu-style martial art based on its characteristics. In the opening pages of Tiger and this sequel, their secret temple is attacked by a former student who is attempting to turn himself into a dragon. Their teacher, the Grandmaster, is killed and the five scatter into the forest. This sets up a tense plot that moves quickly from fight scene to fight scene with character and plot development being filled in between battles. Eleven-year-old Malao, the "Monkey," is the youngest monk and is prone to giggling and avoiding baths. Initially uncertain without his brothers by his side, he is befriended by an albino macaque who is the leader of a troop of monkeys. Human/animal interaction is a central theme of both books as is the idea of the "Chosen One" or, in this case, "Chosen Five." While both books begin at the same moment and then follow a separate character, their stories meet at points and the second book takes readers farther along in the narrative. Mysteries abound, with many left unresolved at the end. It is important to read this series in order. Stone has done a masterful job of managing an intricate plot, developing authentic characters, and writing well-described fight scenes. An easy and worthy sell to middle-grade readers.-Kathleen Meulen, Blakely Elementary School, Bainbridge Island, WA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Favorite series and characters come to the fore this fall. As fans of Jeffrey Stone's Five Ancestors series might expect, the second book in his series, Monkey, takes up with Malao (which means "Monkey"), first introduced in his launch book, Tiger. This next installment retraces a bit of the same territory, leading up to the moment when the five orphans "scatter to the winds," and fills in the gaps of Malao's whereabouts while he and Fu ("Tiger") were separated in the previous novel. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.