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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

At 11-years-old, Malao is the youngest of the Five Ancestors. Master of the monkey fighting style, he’s curious and quick, fast and fun-loving. But now, with the destruction of the temple and the deaths of his older brothers and Grandmaster, Malao the fun-loving monkey is forced to face things he’d rather not. As he grapples with these new and unwelcome feelings, Malao has an encounter with a dangerous band of bandits, is adopted by a troop of monkeys commanded by a one-eyed albino, and hears tantalizing rumors of a mysterious recluse called the Monkey King, who is said to act, and look, a lot like him. . . .


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Chapter 1


Malao raced through the moonlit treetops, nervous energy driving him deeper and deeper into the forest.
He had to put as much distance between himself and Cangzhen Temple as possible. Ying had returned–
and was more dangerous than ever.

Malao leaped off the gnarled arm of an ancient oak and soared through the night sky.

He landed on the limb of a young maple and paused. He was lucky to be alive, let alone to have escaped
uninjured. The same was true for his brothers Fu, Seh, Hok, and Long. Cangzhen Temple was in ruins,
and its warrior monks--Malao's older brothers and teachers--were all dead.

Malao began to tremble. The thunder he had heard was a devastating new weapon called a qiang. With
the twitch of a single finger, a soldier with no training at all could now kill a kung fu master. Ying carried a
qiang, and with it the power of a dragon. Still, that hadn't been enough for Ying. He had carved his face
and filled the grooves with green pigment. He had forked his tongue and ground his teeth and nails into
sharp points. Ying now looked like a dragon. A crazy, vengeful sixteen-year-old dragon.

Malao shuddered and grabbed hold of a thick vine. He pushed off the slender maple and swung feetfirst
toward a large elm.

"Scatter into the four winds and uncover Ying's secrets, as well as your own," Grandmaster had told them.
"Uncover the past, for it is your future."

Malao released the vine and somersaulted onto one of the elm's upper limbs. Why did Grandmaster hide
only us five? he wondered. What makes us so special?

Grandmaster had provided only one clue. He'd said that Malao and his four brothers were linked to each
other, and to Ying. Malao guessed it had something to do with the fact that all of them, including Ying,
were orphans. Still, that didn't explain much. It wasn't like any of them could have had the same parents.
They were all too different.

Malao glanced down at his small, dark hands. He was a monkey-style kung fu master, nothing at all like
Fu, the oversized, over-aggressive twelve-year-old "tiger," or Seh, the tall, secretive twelve-year-old
"snake." He differed even more from Hok, the pale-skinned, logical twelve-year-old "crane," and Long, the
wise, muscular thirteen-year-old "dragon."

Malao sighed. He missed them already.

A twig snapped and Malao froze. He glanced around but couldn't see anything from high in the tree.
Cautiously, he swung down to the elm's lowest limb for a closer look. He peeked through a clump of new
foliage and his heart skipped a beat. This part of the forest looked awfully familiar. His plan had been to
travel in a straight line away from the temple, but he'd always been really bad with directions--

Another twig snapped.

Malao crouched low on the large limb and held his breath. A moment later, he saw a soldier on patrol. One
of Ying's soldiers.

Malao shivered. He'd run in a big circle, and now he was right back where he'd started, near Cangzhen!

The soldier was headed in Malao's direction. Malao watched him closely. Heavy armor covered the man's
body, and he carried a short wooden stick about as long as Malao's arm. Malao got a good look at the
stick as the soldier passed through a pool of moonlight. The stick was nearly as big around as a monk's
staff and was made from a very light-colored wood, white waxwood. The entire surface was decorated
with intricate carvings that had been colored brown with a hot piece of metal. The soldier was still some
distance away, but Malao knew exactly what those carvings were.

Monkeys.

Malao's upper lip curled back.

The warrior monks of Cangzhen Temple--or any temple, for that matter--were not allowed to have
personal possessions. Personal possessions meant a tie to the greedy world of men, so the monks
owned nothing and shared everything. However, within Cangzhen, weapons were an exception. Though
they weren't supposed to favor any one more than another, Cangzhen's warrior monks almost always
did. Malao's favorite was called a short stick, and the specific stick he preferred was now in that soldier's
right hand.

Malao hugged his knees tight and began to rock back and forth. That soldier had helped slaughter Malao's
friends and family and burn down the only home Malao had ever known. And now the soldier planned to
walk away with a souvenir. Malao wasn't about to let that happen.

As the soldier passed under his tree, Malao focused on the rhythm of the soldier's strides. When the
soldier's right arm went backward and his weight shifted to his left leg, Malao dropped from the tree like
an anvil.

THUD!

Malao's feet smashed into the back of the soldier's left knee and the knee buckled, slamming to the
ground. Malao grabbed the stick and flipped forward, twisting it out of the soldier's hand and leaping onto
a low-lying branch. He grinned at the soldier and waved the stick.

"Get down here, you little monkey!" the soldier said, staggering to his feet.

Malao shook his head and scurried to a higher branch.

"Don't play games with me, monk. I see your orange robe. You better not make me climb up there after
you."

Malao turned to leap to another tree when the soldier raised his voice. "I said get down here!"

Malao stopped. If the soldier raised his voice any louder, reinforcements might come. Malao had no
interest in fighting an entire garrison of soldiers. He needed to do something, fast. He zipped to the
opposite side of the tree so that he was directly behind the soldier, facing the same direction as the man,
and jumped straight down. He landed with one small foot on each of the soldier's shoulders.

The surprised soldier tilted his head up and grabbed on to Malao's robe.


From the Hardcover edition.
Jeff Stone

About Jeff Stone

Jeff Stone - The Five Ancestors Book 2: Monkey

Photo © Courtesy of the Author

Jeff Stone lives in the Midwest with his wife and two children and practices the martial arts daily. Though Mr. Stone isn't Chinese, his wife is. She’s from Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, and English fluently. They have two children, a daughter age 5 and a son age 3. Both children speak Cantonese and English. Mr. Stone thinks his English skills are pretty good, but his Cantonese still needs a lot of work.
Like the Five Ancestors, Mr. Stone was adopted as an infant. He began searching for his birth mother when he was eighteen and found her fifteen years later.
Mr. Stone 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.
When he isn’t busy hiking, fishing, reading, playing sports, practicing martial arts, or traveling to Hong Kong with his wife and two children, Mr. Stone can usually be spotted writing at home.
Awards

Awards

WINNER 2006 ALA Best Books for Young Adults
SUBMITTED ALA Quick Pick for Young Adult Reluctant Readers
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide



ABOUT THIS BOOK

Grades 6 up
Filled with action and adventure and seeped in Chinese culture, this series is perfect for engaging young readers!

At 11 years old, Malao is the youngest of the Five Ancestors. Master of the monkey fighting style, he’s curious and quick, fast and fun-loving. But now, with the destruction of the temple and the deaths of his older brothers and Grandmaster, Malao the fun-loving monkey is forced to face things he’d rather not. As he grapples with these new and unwelcome feelings, Malao has an encounter with a dangerous band of bandits, is adopted by a troop of monkeys commanded by a one-eyed albino, and hears tantalizing rumors of a mysterious recluse called the Monkey King, who is said to act, and look, a lot like him. . . .

TEACHING IDEAS

USING THE SERIES AS A WHOLE

KUNG FU—STYLE DOCUMENTARIES
In groups of three or four, have students research one of the animals–tiger, monkey, snake, crane, or eagle–in its natural habitat, exploring the following questions and more: What are the animal’s physical attributes and how does it move? What adaptations ensure its survival? What are its sleeping and feeding habits? Who are its natural enemies? Have students relate their research findings to the personalities and abilities of Fu, Malao, Seh, Hok, and Ying. How would one monk naturally get along with the other monks? Which monks would be natural enemies? How do their natural abilities help them in their kung fu styles? Next have the groups write and film a short video “documentary” explaining how the animal relates to the kung fu style of the monk. They will need to incorporate a variety of visual elements and sequences in their animal documentary and explain the role the animal plays in the young monk’s life that they chose to research. For example, the albino monkey in Malao’s life, the snake that attaches itself to Seh, the crane that helps Hok, and the tiger that stays in the distance for Fu. Students may follow the model of public television animal programs or may adapt the edgier tone of documentary programs such as The Crocodile Hunter.

CANGZHEN TEMPLE CHARACTER CHRONOLOGIES
Divide students into five groups and give each group one of the books in the Five Ancestors series. Ask each group to follow their character from the burning of the temple to the end of the series, making a list of each of the major stops along their journey, noting when possible the time lapse between moves the character makes, who he or she is traveling with, and the moves of the other characters. Then on a long piece of bulletin-board paper have each group first write their character’s events on a time line, and then illustrate in color each event along the time line, making a mural that shows the travels and experiences of all five of the monks after the temple burned. When the time line is complete, students will be able to see where the lives of each brother and their sister have intersected on the journey to their destiny.

A FINE LINE: TRACING THE LINEAGE OF THE FIVE ANCESTORS
A family tree traces the background of a family to its origins. Starting at the bottom of the tree, ask each pair of students to write the names of each of the five monks, and on the same horizontal level write the names of their brothers and sisters. Just above the monks and their siblings, students should write the names of their parents (fathers and mothers) using both the animal name and the Cantonese name of everyone in the tree. If additional explanations are needed about any of the relationships, ask students to write the explanations on a side bar and identify the additional explanations with numbers correlating to each monk. Two generations of Cantonese monks has made for a strong family tree. Ask students to write on one side of the tree a brief explanation of how each of the five young monks came to be at the Cangzhen Temple.

DISCUSSION AND WRITING

COURAGE–Even though Malao is quite small he risks his life by challenging a large group of bandits in order to save wild monkeys from being killed. (p. 43) What does this courageous act say about Malao’s character? Why does Malao stutter and stammer when he talks to the bandits? What role does fear play in this interaction between Malao and the large man known as Hung?

FAMILY–As the tired warrior monks follow the Grandmaster’s orders to uncover their pasts to find their futures, they are unsure of what is happening to them. On pages 96—99, Malao, Fu, and Hok are captured until they eventually free each other. What drives the monks’ fierce tie to family? What lessons were taught to them as monks that result in their willingness to lay down their lives for one another? Why does Ying, who was trained with them, not share the same passion for family?

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

HISTORY–The Canghzen Temple and the Shaolin Temple both play integral roles in the Five Ancestors series. Divide students into groups of three and ask half of the groups to research the Canghzen Temple and the other groups to research the Shaolin Temple. Have each group make a class presentation on the history, architecture, culture, and traditions of their assigned temple. Encourage them to include interesting information such as the hierarchy of the monks, the tenets and practices of their religious studies, and the current status of the temple should also be included. Each group should create a mobile, diorama, or other 3-D model to present along with their findings.

LANGUAGE ARTS–Malao is full of fun, always joking and doing his best to make others laugh. Often times his good nature wears thin on his brothers who take life more seriously. Ask students to select three or four situations in the book where Malao irritates one or more of his brothers because of his playfulness. Have students write and illustrate a haiku or a limerick to depict the situation and then share it with the class. Collect the poems to make a classroom booklet to share with other classes.

Download a PDF of the Teacher's Guide
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Jeff Stone discusses the Five Ancestors on Classroom Cast

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