The Yellow Monkey Emperor’s Classic of Chinese Medicine – book review

Written by Damo Mitchell and illustrated by Spencer Hill

Illustrated by Spencer Hill

Published by Singing Dragon, Jessica Kingsley Publishers ISBN: 9781848192867

Review by Rachel Morris


An array of animals – comically illustrated – guide you through 78 syndromes of Chinese medicine. As you travel through mountains, cross gorges and traverse deserts, wise animal sages diagnose sickly creatures. A horse with a chest as tight as a bear’s embrace, a rat with urine darker than soy sauce!


It’s a fabulous text book. If you’re a student who learns through visual cues, this is the Chinese Medicine book for you. The graphic novel, comic strip style, travel story is punctuated by diagrams summarizing the main symptoms of each problem, so it’s easy to navigate through the book.


The style of writing and even the type used are informal. Damo Mitchell shares his deep knowledge of the disturbances and illnesses that can affect the body, or Zang Fu, as they are understood in Chinese medicine. Spencer Hill has brought the content to life with his witty, lively illustrations.


There are Daoist jokes peppered through the book, so the information packed pages are nicely balanced. More text books should be put together like this. Perhaps this approach to learning would be exactly the way to engage visual learners in all sorts of subjects.

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