Library Media Connection
What if your tow truck arrived with a gorilla at the wheel? This trip to a garage full of real "grease monkeys" will have kids wondering who really changes the oil in their car. As a father and son set off on a car trip, the father smugly tells the boy that he can't drive the car. Once the car breaks down and is fixed at a garage populated by an array of primates including orangutans, chimps, and gorillas, the price for the repair includes a promise from the father that the lad can have a turn to drive the family car. The rhyming text works well and clips along with a few gems of rich vocabulary words (like "tomfoolery"). The descriptive details of the garage, both in words and illustrations, will make this a favorite for repeat readings (my group of second graders especially loved the banana vending machine in the waiting area). Young fans will surely be waiting for another visit to the Gorilla Garage. Recommended.
School Library Journal
A boy and his dad are driving along a highway when their car sputters to a halt. A gorilla wearing blue mechanics overalls comes by with a tow truck and hauls them to a garage run by gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutans. Gorilla Garage serves a simian clientele that includes a tuxedoed movie star named Kong. The boy sneaks out of the jungle-style waiting room to watch the apes work, the car is fixed, and the youngster takes the wheel and drives off with Dad in the passenger seat. Told in rhyme from the boy's perspective, the story has little plot and uninspired writing. The Photoshop illustrations look like a child's coloring book that has been filled in with watercolor paints. The entire effort is rather pedestrian.-Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT
A boy and his dad are out for a drive when their car breaks down. A tow truck happens by . . . driven by a gorilla! Back at the gorilla garage, the humans wait with chimps while gorillas fix their car. When Kong the movie actor causes a scene, the boy slips out and spies orangutans and baboons before the gorillas put him behind the wheel of the car. Dad tries to intervene, but the mechanic says the "really expensive" repair will be free-if the boy drives home. Shulman's tale is too often slave to its rhyme and not nearly as much fun as the premise might promise. The boy's surprised to discover the gorilla garage exists, but then he reports, "That's where I found an orangutan crew, / pumping the gas as orangutans do"-how could he know? There's no reason for the gorillas to insist the boy drive, and the terms ape and monkey are used interchangeably. Nguyen's Photoshop-colored pen-and-ink illustrations are by far the best feature. This only warrants purchase where simian stories are in high demand. (Picture book. 4-8)