We read Gorilla while at a friend's house the other night and Rosie fell in love with it so when we saw it in our local library (please support them everyone, we need to use them to keep them, and even then that's sometimes not enough, but I digress!) we checked it out straight away.
We already have one of Anthony Browne's classic gorilla stories Willy and Hugh which is about an unlikely friendship between a lonely chimpanzee and a gorilla but the story in Gorilla is far more poignant and captured Rosie's imagination.
Hannah is a little girl who loves gorillas but she spends most of her time on her own because her father is always too busy to take her anywhere or do anything with her. For her birthday the thing she wants most in the world is a gorilla. When she wakes up in the middle of the night and finds a small toy gorilla wrapped up on her bed she's disappointed and throws it into the corner of the room with her other toys. But then a magical thing happens. The gorilla grows and grows and takes Hannah on a wonderful adventure, to the zoo, the cinema and to a cafe. When Hannah wakes up she runs downstairs to tell her dad all about the exciting time she's had but before she can say anything he asks her if she'd like to go to the zoo. Hannah ends the story a very happy little girl!
The artwork is amazing in this book. The sense of perspective and wry touches in each drawing make it a feast for the eyes for both grown-up and child! Although most of us are probably not as guilty as Hannah's dad for not managing to spare enough time for our children it's a valuable reality check for anyone.