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by Michael Rex, illustrated by Michael Rex

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8050-5020-5
Publisher: Henry Holt

 From the illustrator of David Getz's Floating Home (p. 380), the story of a gorilla who finds plenty of subject matter for her artwork in the zoo where she lives. There's a ``captive'' audience to buy her paintings--the people who visit the zoo. The money pours in and the gorilla becomes a world-famous millionaire, but she's not happy: She has no desire for clothes, cars, or rocket ships. Polling her animals friends for a solution, the gorilla eventually uses her pile of dough to buy the zoo; she converts it to a playground, and sets all the animals free, to return to their homes. Perhaps in a story that demands readers believe in primate fine art, questioning how the animals return to their homes (the elephant, among them, lives on another continent) or in what state their homes will be (probably less than idyllic) is quibbling. The story is weak, relying on clichÇs instead of a real exploration of the elaborately set-up premise: What can a gorilla do with a million bucks? Jovial cartoons add a sunny look to the pages that promise a lot of monkeying around but don't deliver. (Picture book. 3-6)