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LITTLE BEAUTY by Anthony Browne Kirkus Star


by Anthony Browne & illustrated by Anthony Browne

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3959-4
Publisher: Candlewick

A lonely gorilla who has been taught sign language tells his keepers that he wants a friend. Not having another gorilla in the zoo, they gave him a kitten named Little Beauty, and most of the book depicts the ecstatic friendship between the tiny feline and the gargantuan gorilla. When the friends view King Kong on television, a movie so darkly at odds with the softhearted simian’s nature, he impulsively smashes the set. This act of violence almost leads the keepers to remove Beauty, until the kitten signs that she broke the television. No one renders primates with more faithful detail or surreal humanity than Browne. Here the pictures are made all the more affecting by the ironic juxtapositions of size (great and wee) and stylish gentility (primitive animal set against William Morris wallpapers). These are interrupted only at moments of extreme emotion, when the painstaking detail gives way to hastier line and more emphatic text. Young children may not know the visual King Kong reference, but the rest of the love story will need no explanation. (Picture book. 3-7)