THE GORILLAS OF GILL PARK by Amy Gordon

THE GORILLAS OF GILL PARK

Age Range: 9 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

Willy’s aunt, a costumer, invites him to her city apartment for the summer as she sews 30 gorilla costumes. The apartment is adjacent to Gill Park, owned by eccentric millionaire musician, Otto Pettingill. Willy believes that the owner’s music, amplified throughout the park, gives the space a special energy that turns the shy and uncoordinated seventh-grader into a baseball player, improves his violin playing, and allows him to befriend many unusual people who live around the park, including Mr. Pettingill. When he discovers a plan to sell the park, Willy and his friends outsmart Pettingill’s sleazy lawyer and save it from development. At this feel-good point, Gordon could have stopped. But she makes the plot overly long by further developing certain strands: baseball, friendship, self-esteem, dealing with death, anti-smoking, and young people’s relationships with adults. The story has many light-hearted, playful, but sometimes illogical elements: for example, Willy inherits the valuable Gill Park upon the death of Mr. Pettingill. All in all, this offers good, clean fun, a rare commodity in many contemporary middle-grade novels. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 15th, 2003
ISBN: 0-8234-1751-4
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2003




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