Cyril the Mandrill

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4to 11" - 13" tall; 32 pages

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Cyril is the oldest and wisest animal in the zoo. Although Cyril is now loved and respected by everyone, he was not always so accepted. The other animals had never seen anything like Cyril. His strangeness caused them to laugh at him even as they feared him. On the other hand, visitors to the zoo wanted to see Cyril. With the boredom and sameness of winter at the zoo came a radical change in Cyril's status. His bright color reminded the other animals of how wonderful things would be when spring came. The author's bio for this book indicates that she is an illustrator. That undoubtedly explains the marvelous illustrations the book contains as compared to the rather stilted language. Despite the rather uninteresting text, Cyril the Mandrill would be a welcome addition to a unit on diversity. The complex notion of hate stemming from fear of differences is presented in a way that both engages and enlightens young readers. 2005, Star Bright Books, Ages 4 to 8.
—Maria Lamattina
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Cyril, a mandrill from Gabon, lives in a zoo where visitors flock to see him because of his distinctive appearance. Because the other animals are jealous, they make fun of him, so he is very lonely. Try as he might to look like everyone else, he cannot erase the bright colors of his face. As the cold, gray winter arrives, the animals are moved indoors. Bored with their drab surroundings and depressed by the sameness of their days, they learn to appreciate Cyril's vivid markings. He cheers them toward spring by evoking memories of a warmer, more vibrant season, explaining, for example, that his mouth is yellow like the sun when it wakes up in the morning and begins to rise. In the end, he becomes a cherished member of the group. Greco's pen-and-watercolor paintings are delightful. Cyril is just plain gorgeous, and the cover illustration, which features a close-up of his multihued face and smiling eyes, will tempt readers to pick up the book. Unfortunately, the story is a bit contrived and the text a little stilted. Despite some awkwardness, the tale does present some good lessons: respect differences; enjoy your individuality; find your place to shine in the world. Not a first purchase, but certainly a worthwhile addition.-Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Greco switches species and locale on Leo Lionni's Frederick (1967), but keeps the basic plot. The zoo's other monkeys dis Cyril for his brightly colored face (and rump, though that merits barely a mention in this earnest episode)-until they're driven to distraction by winter's long, grey days indoors, and he uses his blue, red, and yellow phiz to remind them of the outdoors' hues: "One of them asked, 'Why is your mouth yellow?' 'It is yellow like the sun when it wakes up in the morning and begins to rise. Do you remember the sun?' " Frederick the mouse is more of a poet, but shaggy, bright-faced Cyril makes a strong central presence in Greco's splashy watercolors, particularly as the tale is sandwiched between full-spread, head-on views. The monkeys' dreamy faces, along with occasional glimpses of the zoo's other denizens, add visual interest. No replacement for the classic, but an acceptable alternative and a small lesson in acceptance of those who are different. (Picture book. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932065923
  • Publisher: Star Bright Books, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 570L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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