Murilla the gorilla employs her detecting talents to track down a missing parasol.
Not surprisingly, it is raining in the African rain forest. It has rained right through Murilla’s roof, so she makes her way to the market, which, despite the rain, is all sunny colors, like the inside of a cupcake shop. Before Murilla can buy a new mop, Parrot requests help in tracking down a missing parasol from his shop. (In the rain forest, parasols are a hot commodity.) Dear Murilla, who, as the forest’s resident detective, has as much focusing power as Mr. Magoo, bumbles her way to the solution—elementary, but as gratifying as a ray of light breaking through the clouds, and one that allows all the citizens of the forest to remain innocent. This early reader is a pleasure but no gimme. There is plenty to challenge, starting with parasol but also magnifying glass, mandrill, okapi, chimpanzee and hammocks. This on top of Lee’s illustrations, which are not so much busy as full, especially with the mayhem of Murilla’s life. Despite that, there is a sense of equanimity; Murilla won’t, can’t, is utterly clueless about being hurried, and it is easy to imagine holding her hand and sauntering along as she uncovers what happened.
All the fun of a mystery carried on the rhythm of the tropics. (Early reader. 5-8)