CYRIL THE MANDRILL by Francesca Greco


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Age Range: 5 - 7
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Greco switches species and locale on Leo Lionni’s Frederick (1967), but keeps the basic plot. The zoo’s other monkeys dis Cyril for his brightly colored face (and rump, though that merits barely a mention in this earnest episode)—until they’re driven to distraction by winter’s long, grey days indoors, and he uses his blue, red, and yellow phiz to remind them of the outdoors’ hues: “One of them asked, ‘Why is your mouth yellow?’ ‘It is yellow like the sun when it wakes up in the morning and begins to rise. Do you remember the sun?’ ” Frederick the mouse is more of a poet, but shaggy, bright-faced Cyril makes a strong central presence in Greco’s splashy watercolors, particularly as the tale is sandwiched between full-spread, head-on views. The monkeys’ dreamy faces, along with occasional glimpses of the zoo’s other denizens, add visual interest. No replacement for the classic, but an acceptable alternative and a small lesson in acceptance of those who are different. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 2005
ISBN: 1-932065-92-X
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Star Bright
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2005