This trickster tale about a clever monkey shares a valuable life lesson with young children about sharing.
The Clever Monkey, told by Rob Cleveland, is a classic West African folktale. The simple, chronological text and vivid illustrations draw children into the story. They can easily identify the moral of this folk tale and love to discuss their experiences with sharing.
The tale begins: One day two greedy jungle cats discover a large piece of cheese. They want to share the cheese, but can’t decide how to divide it fairly. A very clever monkey, who also loves cheese, comes to their rescue. When he sees the cats arguing over the cheese, he tricks them into allowing him to eat practically all of the cheese. The cats never realized that a very clever monkey tricked them.
The jungle cats allow their greed to get in the way of sharing. They are more concerned about getting the biggest piece of cheese. Their lack of trust allows the clever monkey to trick them into making foolish decisions. Their greed ends up leaving them with less cheese than what they started with. The trickster monkey had the last laugh!
This colorful, sometimes funny, classic folktale teaches young children
- About sharing by overcoming greed
- Being fair
- Being resourceful
- Learning how to judge who is trustworthy and who isn’t
- About folktales
- Social Studies and Science (the animal kingdom and geography)
- Math (dividing the cheese)
My young yogis love to perform monkey and cat poses, along with sound effects, as I read The Clever Monkey. We then launch into partner and group games and activities that reinforce cooperation and sharing.
Author, Rob Cleveland is a professional storyteller, award winning author, workshop leader, accomplished film and stage actor as well as a popular comedian. He has written other folktales for children such as:
- Clever Monkey Rides Again
- The Drum A Folktale from India
- How the Tiger Got His Stripes A Folktale from Vietnam
- The Magic Apple A Middle Eastern Folktale
Illustrator, Baird Hoffmire is an animator, illustrator, graphic designer and exhibiting artist. He has illustrated many of Rob Cleveland’s folktales.