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Sunday, February 9, 2014

One Gorilla, created by Anthony Browne. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2012. $20.00 ages 2 and up

"All primates.

All one family.

All my family...

and yours!"

There are no words of mine that could possibly do justice to this absolutely gorgeous book from the renowned British artist Anthony Browne!

It is a work of true beauty, not unexpected if you know his work. Its subject is not even a surprise...he has an affinity for primates, as he has proved time and again. It is the intensity of color and expression that makes it so very memorable.

There is little to say about the is a counting book. That is what it does. It is in the subject matter that readers will be inspired to pause and take a very personal look at each of the large portraits included here. In discussing it with children and talking about illustrator strategies, I would be asking them to notice the close-up views, the expressive faces, the textures, the white space that ensures that the subject matter is front and center, and the eyes...oh, those eyes!

 As the numbers grow, the attention no longer remains constant between reader and primate. They have more to distract them, and expressions change. All the while we, as readers, are aware of the dignity given to each and to the intelligence that shines in their eyes. We wonder what they are thinking, and if they have questions as we do. Finally we meet Anthony Browne in a self-portrait, drawn to help us note just how closely we (and the people of the world) are linked to these amazing animals.

If you have ever wondered, wonder no more!


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