A fun gorilla tale that’s perfect for parents lap reading to giggling youngsters.


Two brothers find a caged green ape and discover how far the creature will go to catch them in this rhyming debut picture book.

Mark and his big brother, Stu, who have tan skin, are familiar with the stories about the giant gorilla on a nearby island—but they don’t believe the tales. Despite warning signs posted around the island, the boys persist in exploring until they enter a cave, where they find a cage. “In the cage was an ape that was big as a wall. / Twenty—no, Thirty—no, FIFTY feet tall!” Continuing to ignore the signs, Stu dares Mark to touch the ape, and when the gorilla roars, the boys decide to make their escape. But the ape busts out of the cage and chases them across the water, through the city, and to their grandfather’s farm, all the while enjoying the game. The reveal at the end is sure to tickle young readers, and Thompson’s illustrations offer a gorilla that’s never too scary despite his size and strange color. The digital cartoons are short on details, but the compositions imply depth and portray action effectively. Woolford’s rhymes feel almost Seussian, and the silliness of the giant ape seems in keeping with other Dr. Seuss conceits. The layout uses green text for Mark’s dialogue, blue text for Stu’s, ominous red text for the warning signs, and a larger typeface for the creature’s repeated “BOOM BOOM BOOM” sounds.

A fun gorilla tale that’s perfect for parents lap reading to giggling youngsters.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73-714041-2

Page Count: -

Publisher: Green Gorilla Books

Review Posted Online: July 6, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn.

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A young owl achieves his grand ambition.

Owl, an adorably earnest and gallant little owlet, dreams of being a knight. He imagines himself defeating dragons and winning favor far and wide through his brave exploits. When a record number of knights go missing, Owl applies to Knight School and is surprisingly accepted. He is much smaller than the other knights-in-training, struggles to wield weapons, and has “a habit of nodding off during the day.” Nevertheless, he graduates and is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. While patrolling the castle walls one night, a hungry dragon shows up and Owl must use his wits to avoid meeting a terrible end. The result is both humorous and heartwarming, offering an affirmation of courage and clear thinking no matter one’s size…and demonstrating the power of a midnight snack. The story never directly addresses the question of the missing knights, but it is hinted that they became the dragon’s fodder, leaving readers to question Owl’s decision to befriend the beast. Humor is supplied by the characters’ facial expressions and accented by the fact that Owl is the only animal in his order of big, burly human knights. Denise’s accomplished digital illustrations—many of which are full bleeds—often use a warm sepia palette that evokes a feeling of antiquity, and some spreads feature a pleasing play of chiaroscuro that creates suspense and drama.

A charming blend of whimsy and medieval heroism highlighting the triumph of brains over brawn. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-31062-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.


Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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