Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - No Monkeys, No Chocolate

Author: Melissa Stewart; Allen Young
Illustrator: Nicole Wong
Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing (August 1, 2013)
Source: Personal Copy
Audience: 2nd to 5th grade
Keywords: Nonfiction, Cacao Plants, Microhabitats

Description from GoodReads:  
Most kids love chocolate, but few of them know that its main ingredient, the cocoa bean, comes from a tree that grows in tropical rain forests. Dual-layer text describes the life cycle of the tree, emphasizing its botanical structures and highlighting the interdependence of the plant and animals such as the pollen-sucking midge, brain-eating coffin fly, and aphid-munching anole lizard. Two wise-cracking bookworms offer meta-textual commentary and humor in this fascinating depiction of a microhabitats survival.

My thoughts on this book:
I love chocolate.  So, of course, a title like No Monkeys, No Chocolate caught my attention.  Stewart, with input from Young,  has effectively combined factual information about cocoa beans with a touch of humor to make an enjoyable read for children.

In addition to the great illustrations, there are several elements to this story.  One element is the headline like sentences that continue across two pages.  Another element is the detailed text that shares how cocoa beans grow in tropical rain forests.  Another element are two funny bookworms that provide humorous commentary on the story.  Finally, there is a build up to the title by a play on the title:  "No midges, No chocolate." "No lizards, No chocolate."

The progression of the story helps readers understand not only the way a cocoa tree grows but also how so many other things like midge insects, leaf-cutter ants, maggots, aphids, lizards, and eventually monkeys all have a part in the successful growth and development of cocoa trees and their seed pods.  Nicole Wong's colorful and detailed illustrations are a beautiful compliment to the text.

This is one book to definitely add to a classroom or school library. Look for this book at your local independent bookstore or library.

Though I couldn't find a book trailer for No Monkeys, No Chocolate, here is a short video from that compliments the book:

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