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Launching a new series, this zany adventure takes as its premise that it is the journal of an eight-year-old boy who has stopped aging; it has washed up on a riverbank in England and been found by the publishers. Supplemented by often funny b&w sketches, the account begins as the narrator, who claims to be at least 400 years old, sets off on a homemade raft. Forget about Huck Finn-Charlie Small gets thrown from his raft, only to land on the back of a crocodile, and then to tumble with it over a waterfall into a dark jungle. Encounters with mechanical rhinos, hyenas and snakes follow before Charlie reaches the titular gorilla city, where he is first held captive and later proclaimed chief. Boys of a certain sensibility will cotton to the humor: offered the hairy hand of a gorilla in marriage, Charlie protests, "I'm much too young to get married! Especially to someone with armpit hair as long as my leg!" The caper ends as Charlie touches down on an island inhabited by "terrible bloodthirsty renegade pirates"-all women, leading right into The Perfumed Pirates of Perfidy, due the same month. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.