Brownstone’s Mythical Collection: Kai and the Monkey King [released 10/22]

Written & Illustrated by: Joe Todd-Stanton

For ages: 5-7 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: Adventure, Mythology, Family, Love, Women Adventurers, Single Mother Families. 

Summary: This book was sent to us by Flying Eye Books, Nobrow in the UK, but all opinions are our own!  This book is part of the larger Brownstone’s collection, and the illustrations are incredible!

Kai and her mother Wen are adventurers, traveling there world helping people.  When the pair are in a village visited by a destructive monster once a year, Wen and Kai head straight to the library.  Soon, Kai gets bored and decides to solve the problem herself by freeing the Monkey King to help defeat the monster.  After the Monkey King is freed, he has a few things to take care of before helping Kai.  After getting chased by monsters when Kai tries to help the Monkey King gather immortal peaches, she gets frustrated and he leaves her on a cliff.  Returning home, Kai sees her mother defending the village from the monster all by herself!  Rushing to help, Kai hopes the Monkey King will also come back and help but she is disappointed.  It is up to Kai and Wen to save the village!  Can they?

This is a great book that weaves in an original story and mythology.  Having the two main characters be women adventurers is an amazing breath of fresh air.  The way the illustrations wend their way through the book is reminiscent of a comic book, but with larger panels.  This is the only book in the Brownstone’s series that we have read so far, but we absolutely plan on getting more of them!

Reflection Questions:

  • What adventure of Kai’s would you like to have gone on?
  • Do you think Wen spends too much time in the library?
  • What do you believe Kai thinks?
  • Would you have freed the Monkey King?

About the Author & Illustrator:


Joe Todd-Stanton grew up in Brighton and studied at UWE Bristol, receiving a first class degree in Illustration. Joe has been commissioned to work for clients such as Oxford University Press, Usborne Publishing and Aquila magazine.

To find out a little more about his work, Flying Eye asked Joe the following questions:

What inspires your work?
I normally find inspiration through reading or conversations. It’s rare that I get a fully-formed image in my mind but I will read about something strange that interests me and I will research it to see if anything grabs my attention. Normally by the time I have finished the work it has complete changed from the thing that influenced it but I think that is what makes it interesting.

Tell us a bit about your process…

I try and keep plenty of sketch books and fill them up with weird characters and life drawings so when it comes to making an actual piece of work or commission I already should have a few relevant drawings and I’m not just starting from scratch. Once I have a finished drawing I use Photoshop to colour and tweak things around.

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