The Greatest Monkeys in Literature

Posted by Eve Legato

The Year of the Monkey has just begun, which has turned our minds, as usual, to books. Who are our literary mascots for this upcoming year? Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list. In turns adorable and terrifying, here’s a range of monkey characters for all your themed-reading needs.


Trivia time: In Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel Tarzan, Kala saves the boy from another ape, Kerchak, who killed Tarzan’s human father. The Disney version changed Kerchak to Kala’s husband and the killer of Tarzan’s parents to a tiger. But in both versions, Kala is a super-protective mother.


Mrs. Coulter’s dæmon

Unnamed and terrifying, Mrs. Coulter’s dæmon in Phillip Pullman’s The Golden Compass traumatized us all.



We’re choking back sobs already. Fern from Karen Joy Fowler’s We are All Completely Beside Ourselves made readers question what separates us from the animal kingdom, and what it really means to be human.


The Librarian

The Librarian from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series enjoys drinking, eating peanuts, and playing Cripple Mr. Onion. Check out those books and look for him the Unseen University scenes. But whatever you do, don’t return a book after the due date.


Curious George

Who doesn’t love George? Especially when you read the words, “George was curious,” and you know that hijinks will ensue. Put on your Yellow Hat and revisit some of your childhood favorites. 


Eve Legato

Eve Legato enjoys gifs, trashy reality TV, literary fangirling, and cheese. Follow her on twitter @evelegato.