Thanks to June from ‘Wild Atlantic Mom’, and her daughter Little P, for reviewing this award winning book ….
… Little P currently has an obsession with monkeys so when we discovered Anthony Browne’s “Gorilla” I knew it would be a hit.
Hannah loves gorillas and spending time with her Dad. Unfortunately her Dad is so busy working he can’t even take her to the zoo to see her beloved gorillas. Then, on her birthday, Hannah finds a parcel at the end of her bed and inside is a gorilla! But it’s just a toy. Not a real gorilla. Or is it…? Hannah has a wonderful adventure with her friendly gorilla that ends with the best birthday treat of all. A day spent with her dad.
Browne’s illustrations are so lifelike they literally leap off the page. Those of gorilla and the other primates are like a natural history lesson and if you have a child who is interested in animals they’ll be mesmerised. Little P gazes at them for ages. Hannah is also drawn with such detail and her every emotion captured, not just in facial expressions, but even in the way she stands.
As with all the best picture books there’s a whole other story going on in the illustrations. Little P particularly loves the sequence when Hannah’s toy gorilla transforms over night. Just look at the reactions of her little doll and the inhabitants of the dolls house. There are witty details in the paintings on the walls in Hannah’s house and the banana hidden in her Dad’s back pocket when he’s wishing her a Happy Birthday. All part of the special mystery that Browne has written into the story.
The book is also filled with emotion both positive and negative. Hannah’s loneliness, her disappointment, her overworked Dad and the sadness of the caged primates in the zoo are all palpable both in words and pictures. It’s a perfect way to introduce conversations about emotions in a gentle way, particularly with very young children.
I think this book is so loved because it deals with all the complexities in children’s lives. Moments that are both happy and sad, joyous and poignant. But Browne’s story shows that with a little imagination everything can turn out well in the end.
With so many layers of meaning “Gorilla”can be enjoyed over and over again right through all the different stages of childhood.
** Review written by June @wildatlanticmum
** Photo our own