A gorilla learns a lesson about playing fairly with his friends in this preschool-perfect picture book by Stoller (Scarlet’s Magic Paintbrush, 2018, etc.), with eye-catching illustrations by Bartholomew (Alphatangle, 2016, etc.).
Gorilla loves to race with his friends, but he’s willing to break the rules to make sure he wins. When he and Penguin have a sliding race, Gorilla trips Penguin at the last second. Gorilla pulls Llama’s tail to stay in the lead. Unsurprisingly, no one wants to play with Gorilla after that. When Gopher arrives, Gorilla finds a kindred spirit who’s also willing to cheat to win! Luckily, when Gorilla cheats, Gopher uses words to object; likewise, when Gopher cheats, Gorilla objects. The two argue, unable to settle on fair rules until they both face off against Cheetah (who gives herself an early start). Realizing that neither of them likes to play with cheaters, Gorilla and Gopher and all their playground friends come up with fair rules to enjoy racing together. Bartholomew’s clever, colorful cartoon illustrations, especially showcasing the final “race” as a playground merry-go-round spinning, are well-shaded to show texture and depth. Stoller’s conclusion, in which the friends work as a team to create the type of fun where everyone wins, will resonate, especially with the preschool crowd.
With big pictures and few words on each page, a sure hit as a storytime read-aloud.