A mischievous little monkey and a grumpy gorilla get into trouble and confront life-changing situations in the Amazon rain forest in Newcomer’s picture book.
Marlin the monkey and Garth the gorilla are two of the many animals that live in the Amazon rain forest. Told in seven “episodes,” the story follows the pair as they have numerous adventures. They initially clash, as “Marlin’s life was all about fun, fun, fun,” while “Garth was a very big gorilla…very strong, very mean, very ugly, and he didn't like monkeys.” Marlin lives to irritate Garth, but when a practical joke goes awry and Garth falls out of a tree and breaks his leg, Marlin must quickly grow up and help his former enemy survive by bringing him food. The experience leads them to become good friends, and as they support each other, they learn things about their families and life histories, conquer their fears, and meet new love interests. They also learn other lessons in the jungle, as when Marlin tells a group of parrots that they should apologize to a toucan for making fun of how she looks. Told in clear prose with plenty of humor and dialogue, Newcomer’s debut will be engaging for young readers. The action is dramatic—featuring long-lost triplet siblings, captured parents, and tragic deaths—but hums right along and ties into broader themes of friendship and belonging. Marlin will be a particularly relatable character for young readers who can’t seem to stay out of trouble, while quieter children may see themselves in Garth, who appreciates silence and just wants to find another gorilla to be with because his species isn’t native to South America. Colorful cartoon illustrations scattered throughout effectively reflect the action of the story and help break up long blocks of text. Despite all the drama, the ending neatly wraps up the story and provides a satisfying conclusion.
An engaging tale that offers important lessons about friendship for young readers.