Review Blog

Dec 03 2012

One gorilla: A counting book by Anthony Browne

cover image

Walker Books, 2012. ISBN 9781406325799.
(Age: Pre-School - 6) Highly recommended.  Picture book. Diversity. Former Children's Laureate and author of timeless classics like Willy the wimp and Gorilla, Anthony Browne has once again come up with a stunning book that children will love. Starting off with one gorilla, two orang-utangs and three chimpanzees, Browne counts on through the primate family finishing his counting with 10 lemurs. But that is not enough for him. He extends this beautiful book with the words: 'All Primates. All one family. All my family...' which are illustrated with a self-portrait and in a stunning conclusion, with the words, 'And yours', he has drawn a huge range of faces, of many colours and cultural diversity.
Readers new to Browne's work are in for a treat and those who are familiar with Browne artistic talent will revel in the beautiful portrayal of expressions on the primates' faces. No two have similar facial expressions, some look happy, some are old and wrinkled, some shy but all are done in exquisite detail, with attention given in particular to whiskers, which I personally found fascinating!
But this is more than just a counting book. Children and adults will have a wonderful time looking at each page and comparing the difference in the animals' faces. There is much to discuss about the primate family and about similarities and differences in each family group, especially our own.
My grand daughter, aged 3, loves Anthony Browne so much that she informed me on Skype that she didn't have some of Anthony Browne's books. In the back of one of her books were the cover illustrations of Anthony Browne's books and she showed me which ones she was missing. I am the Book Grandma, so of course I purchased them for her. I can't wait for her to see this very special book. In the classroom, astute teachers could have a lot of fun looking at Browne's wonderful pictures and extending children's thoughts about the diversity of the people who live in the world.
Pat Pledger

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