Tuki and Moka

A Tale of Two Tamarins

Eduardo and his family live in a small town in Ecuador, not far from the Amazon rainforest. The rainforest is an important part of their lives. Each month Eduardo and his father travel by river from their town to the rainforest. There, using just a basket and a machete, they gather Brazil nuts. They are castañeros and this is how they earn their living. But the rainforest is not only important to the castañeros; it is home to many exotic species of plants, birds, and mammals, including two playful tamarins that Eduardo has named Tuki and Moka. So although it is difficult work being a castañero, Eduardo looks forward to his visits to the rainforest so he can play with his two friends. But one night, the peace of the forest is threatened by poachers, animal traffickers who illegally capture and then try to sell some of the birds and animals. Can Eduardo save his friends?

Format List Price Your Price Qty
$16.99 $16.99
$28.99 $28.99
Interest Level Grade 2 - Grade 4
Reading Level Grade 3
Dewey E
ATOS Reading Level 4.3
Guided Reading Level
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781585367955), PDF (9781627530446), Hosted ebook (9781627536059)
Copyright 2013, 2014
Number of Pages 32
Dimensions 9 x 11
Graphics Full-color illustrations
  • 2015 Storytelling World Resource Award - Honors for Stories for Pre-Adolescent Listeners, 2015
  • Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, 2014

School Library Journal Reviews "Tuki and Moka"

Eduardo and his father are castañeros, traveling from their small town in Ecuador up the river to gather Brazil nuts in the Amazonian rain forest. The boy enjoys these trips despite the dangers and befriends some macaws and two playful tamarins, Tuki and Moka. One night, traffickers capture the colorful birds and furry mammals. Upon returning to their village, Eduardo sees the poachers ready to load the stolen animals onto a truck and manages to engineer an escape for them. This story would be best shared in a group setting where there is ample opportunity to discuss the ethics of animal poaching and when it is appropriate for kids to take matters into their own hands. Madsen’s images capture the lush beauty of the South American locale, although the illustrations of the human characters have a CGI quality.

Kirkus Reviews "Tuki and Moka"

When animal hijackers capture his favorite tamarins, a young boy living near the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador comes to the rescue in this latest in the Tales of the World series.

Traveling by river to their camp in the rain forest, Eduardo and his father earn their living as castañeros, gathering heavy pods from Brazil nut trees and chopping them to collect the nuts. Eduardo has bonded with two playful tamarins called Tuki and Moko and a family of scarlet macaws that nest near the camp. The morning Eduardo and his father return to town with a boatload of nuts, they find the macaws, Tuki and Moko missing. Eduardo’s father suspects animal poachers. When Eduardo arrives at the town market, he follows the sound of familiar chattering into a tent where he discovers Tuki, Moko and macaws in cages and must use his wits to free them. With its pedagogical focus, the text touches on Brazil nut harvesting, unique rain-forest animals and rare-animal trafficking, and the author’s note elaborates on each. Smooth, photorealistic illustrations appear digitally rendered and effectively capture the drama of the rain forest and its verdant flora and exotic fauna through an arresting use of light, shadow, color and perspective.

This animal-poaching tale provides a purposive, engaging-enough introduction to Ecuador’s rain forests.

Author: Judy Young

Judy Young remembers writing a poem for her grandmother when she was about ten. Her grandmother encouraged her to keep writing, and Judy did! Judy is the author of over two dozen children’s picture books and novels, including, Promise, The Wild World of Buck Bray series and the Digger and Daisy series. Judy’s books are used extensively in the public schools and have received numerous awards and honors. One of her most cherished is hearing LeVar Burton read A Pet for Miss Wright for Reading Rainbow Storytime Video to celebrate National Reading Month. Another, was watching as R is for Rhyme, A Poetry Alphabet was performed by the University of Utah’s Creative Dance Program.

Judy received her MA in Speech and Language Pathology from the University of Tulsa and formerly worked in the public schools for 20 years. Now, a frequent speaker at schools, children’s lit fests and professional educational conferences nationwide, Judy’s firsthand experience in the schools makes her programs not only entertaining, but directly related to school curriculum.

Judy resides in the mountains near Mink Creek, Idaho, with her husband, Ross, a professional artist, who illustrated two of Judy’s books. In her spare time, Judy enjoys hiking, fishing, snowshoeing, and gallivanting around the country in “Arlo,” the Young’s traveling studio. Read more about Judy, her books and author visits to schools at www.judyyoungpoetry.com.

Illustrator: Jim Madsen

Jim Madsen has been illustrating children's books and educational software for more than twenty years. He has illustrated more than 75 books over this period of time. Jim is a graduate of Brigham Young University and lives in Provo, Utah, with his wife, Holly, and their three children. When he's not coloring pictures, he can be found hiking and breathing the fresh air of the Wasatch Front mountain range.

Author/Illustrator biography
Full-color illustrations