How big is Cheeky Monkey?

22 June 2017 by Suyen Hu

It was my second week at the school to read with the girls on a one to one basis. Two children chose to read Cheeky Monkey for the day’s reading as they were so excited to see how cheeky the Monkey was! At the very beginning of the story, it says: ”Cheeky Monkey is a very big monkey”. The first girl I met was Evie. I think of Evie as ‘The Little Girl Who Loves Reading’. Evie read the story and said: ‘Let me guess how big it is. I think, it will be from the floor to this big (she pointed to the window of the classroom). But when we turned to the second page, Evie saw the Monkey was even bigger than a tree. She then changed her idea about the Monkey’s size. She said: ‘Now I think he is that big!’ (She pointed from the floor to the sky outside the window).

As the story flew, she told me: ‘Can I try to read the Chinese too?’ So after reading in English and talking about the monkey, she started to read the story in Mandarin. She was very good and she picked up the words quickly and could pronounce the words without me to help. She seemed to enjoy the story and the new language task. When she went through half of the story, she covered some pinyin above the words and asked me, ‘Can you read the words if I covered the pinyin?’ Of course I could read the Chinese text easily as it’s my first language. Evie then said to me, ‘One day I’ll be able to read Chinese without pinyin.’

Now back to the story itself, Cheeky Monkey was not the first in the race and he became a bad monkey. Some boys said the monkey will be killed or become more wild at the end, but Evie told me, ‘I think he finally will become a good monkey. Someone will come to help him, but I don’t know who will come.’ She was waiting to see who would come to help the Monkey, but before that, the Monkey was caught by the Chinese gods. She looked a bit worried now and felt sad that Monkey was tied by the chain and hidden under the Turtle Mountain. Evie pointed out the tears from the monkey’s eye and said, ‘He is crying.' However, several hundred years later, when a fisherman found the chain and asked his friends and had many water buffalos to pull the chain, the Monkey appeared from the water! Evie was surprised and said, ‘He actually lived in the water for hundreds of years! And now he grew bigger! I think he is as big as the school corridor!’ I looked from left to right of the school corridor. It’s about 10 metres. The Monkey is enormous in Evie’s mind.

* The child's real name has been changed.