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Children's LiteratureGilda the giraffe inhabits an imaginary world where a panda or a penguin is not necessarily out of place in an African animal's habitat. Her cheerful tales, now available in English but first published in French (Les editions Heritage from Quebec), take the youngest readers on gentle adventures depicted in large, soft pastels and are guaranteed not to be too alarming. This one is pretty much pure fantasy since rainforest marmosets mingle with Gilda the giraffe, a panda, and a koala, among others. To help Marvin conquer his fear of heights, Gilda suggests a circus, where Kiki (the koala) helps the frightened marmoset forget his phobia and climb to the top of the big top. Young listeners and browsers will most likely enjoy the fantastic circus acts and costumes, including a crocodile as ringmaster and an elephant mouse tamer, while cheering Marvin on as he triumphantly leads the final parade. These stories are not for the scientifically-minded, as some quite young children tend to be, but the lavishly colored double-page spreads full of rounded, cuddly creatures offer reassuring tales somewhere between reality and the realm of stuffed animals to those not yet ready for nature, which can be red in tooth and claw. The final page provides a few facts about marmosets, as well as a code for Facthound on the web, where a number of web sites and books about other primates are suggested, but nothing at all about marmosets. 2006 (orig. 2000), Picture Window, Ages 3 to 6.
—Barbara L. Talcroft