~~~~Author, illustrator and publisher~~~~
Gorilla written by Anthony Browne is one of the authors many fabulous children's paperback books. Published by Walker Books in 2002 Gorilla was also illustrated by Anthony Browne. In my opinion Anthony Browne is a major children's author, his books have underlying meaning and seem to tell another story alongside the one you are reading. He has won many writing awards in his time including the Children's Laureate 2009-2011. His amazing and unique story-telling and illustrating come together to create hugely popular books which any book shelf would be honoured to hold.
This delightful picture book is really all about relationships. The front cover is humorous in respect of the many images you can see silhouetted against the moonlit sky; this humour is also repeated within the book. When you finally concentrate on the two main figures you realise that the happy child and gorilla are swinging on a branch that is shared between two trees.
I enjoyed reading this book and felt it to be a true image of many father/daughter relationships. Hannah was a normal child growing up in a normal world, when her love for Gorillas and her need for love and attention from her father magically combined and her toy gorilla becomes the father figure she desired. A magical trip to the zoo creates an amazing story. Although there was no mention of Hannah's mother I felt that the pictures in the book were possibly a mother's view of a father/daughter relationship. Browne's use of colour throughout the books is an important factor in how he creates the moods for each picture; this can be seen in the opening kitchen scene where the colours are cold and flat, whereas the colours in the picture where Hannah and the Gorilla are enjoying their food are bright and vibrant. I like the way that Hannah usually has on a bright red garment or has a red colour near her in nearly all the pictures. I feel that Browne does this to give Hannah significance, to let the reader know that she is the most important character in this story.
This book is like nothing else I have read and was a totally new experience for me. Browne has managed to show clearly how damaging our society is on the childhoods of our children. I loved the quirky Gorilla references throughout the book; the Gorilla pictures on the walls, the Gorilla images in the trees and on the back of the newspaper and the Gorilla Statue of Liberty. All of these references contribute to the humour of this book making it a very discussable story. Children love the fact that there are themes running through his books and gorillas and bananas make an entrance in many of his books. My own children were too old to enjoy this but those in my classes have loved every page and continue to do so. Anthony brown is a firm favourite on my school book shelf.
There are some critics of his books which say that the storylines are too harsh for children to read. I think children need to understand these issues but also think that a wide variety of genres should be read to children to give them a good grounding for real life.
Available from Amazon new for around £3.99 and used from just £1.35
Gorillas are a large part of many of current Children's Laureate Anthony Browne's work, and it's rather pleasant to read this book, entitled Gorilla. It tells the story of a little girl named Hannah whose father is too busy to spend time with her and take her to the zoo to see the gorillas. On the eve of her birthday, she is excited, as she has asked her dad for a gorilla. She gets one, but it's far more than she could ever imagine........
What's lovely about this is that it takes Browne's lovely work with watercolours and tells the story just as much with the illustrations as it does with the words. Browne's story sees Hannah get her wish, but as a toy, which then grows to a real gorilla and takes her off on adventures during the night, including to the zoo. He manages to first of all paint Hannah's dad as someone who doesn't have enough time for his daughter, and then brings in the gorilla as a sort of anti-dad, with only time for Hannah and whatever she wants to do.
The contrast is quite clever, as it doesn't overdo it and emphasise how neglecting the dad is, it just focuses mainly on how wonderful and magical the gorilla is, taking Hannah swinging through the trees. One illustration even has the gorilla wearing a Superman suit! Another has him wearing her dad's clothes. It's very subtle, yet very effective. Kids may spot the gorilla wearing the dad's things although I would be surprised if they made the link between the dad and the gorilla, and what it shows.
The book is very suitable for kids of all ages, as it focuses more on the positives than on the negatives. The text is minimal but gives a full story, and I would recommend this for any kid learning to read, or indeed for any parent who wants to read a good story to their children. It's an enjoyable read, nice story, great illustrations, and timeless. This was first published in the 1980s, but it is still very current and doesn't feature anything like technology that would render it obsolete. It retails for £4.99, which is a decent price for a kids book these days.