Little Beauty

( 5 )

Overview

“No one renders primates with more faithful detail or surrealhumanity than Browne.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Once there was a very special gorilla who had almost everything he needed. There was only one thing he didn’t have: a friend. With no other gorillas at the zoo, the keepers try something new. Will the gigantic ape strike a bond with another sort of creature, one as tiny and innocent as a kitten? Sparked by the story of a real gorilla who learned to sign, Little ...

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Overview

“No one renders primates with more faithful detail or surrealhumanity than Browne.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Once there was a very special gorilla who had almost everything he needed. There was only one thing he didn’t have: a friend. With no other gorillas at the zoo, the keepers try something new. Will the gigantic ape strike a bond with another sort of creature, one as tiny and innocent as a kitten? Sparked by the story of a real gorilla who learned to sign, Little Beauty is a celebration of a most surprising friendship.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Inspired by the story of Koko, the sign-language-fluent gorilla, and her pet kitten, Browne (Voices in the Park) imagines a similar interspecies friendship. His nameless signing gorilla seems to have everything he needs: a comfy chair (the upholstery looks positively Pierre Deux), a TV and a cheeseburger, but something is not right: the look on his face screams, "Is that all there is?" His ennui evaporates, however, with the arrival of a tiny kitten named Beauty. "They did everything together," Browne notes on one of the funny, touching spreads that ensue; in this particular case, he shows that these BFFs can't be separated even when nature calls. Playing with scale and perspective, continually recalibrating the level of detail (on some closeups, the individual hairs of the gorilla's fur coat are distinct), imbuing his simian hero with a range of emotion worthy of a young Marlon Brando, Browne creates an unpredictable visual vocabulary in sync with the unlikely but enduring affection between Beauty and beast. Ages 3-5. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
With "Once upon a time," Browne introduces us to a "very special gorilla who has been taught to use sign language." Although he can ask for anything he wants, he is still sad; one day he asks for a friend. Since there are no other gorillas in his zoo, they decide to give him a small cat named Beauty. He is delighted. They are happy, doing "everything" together, even using the litter pan and toilet. One night, watching a movie about King Kong and his fate, the gorilla becomes so angry that he breaks the television set. The keepers feel they must take Beauty away. But to their surprise, Beauty signs, "It...was...ME!" And the tale ends with "happily ever after." Attention is arrested by the jacket portrait of the sublimely happy gorilla contrasting with the tiny kitty atop his head. End pages are an intricate monochromatic floral pattern, while the title page offers a delicate cut rose to reinforce the gentle qualities of the story to come. The reality and naturalism of Browne's drawings and watercolors of each image enhance the emotional effectiveness of the minimal story. We participate in his rage at the television scene; then we sympathize with his obvious anxiety after breaking the screen. Actions sometimes take place surrounded by colorfully patterned backgrounds, while the emotions of both characters are clearly portrayed on the large pages. Although fiction, the story was inspired by a real gorilla at the San Diego Zoo. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3

This reworking of the classic tale of a beast transformed by unconditional love depicts the protagonist as a lumbering gorilla and Beauty as a petite cat. A red rose on the title page hints at what's to come. But wait! Alert readers will recognize this relationship, these very poses: here are Hanabi-Ko and All Ball from the real-life story of the sensitive, signing gorilla described by Francine Patterson in Koko's Kitten (Scholastic, 1985). Browne melds fact and fiction into a story that reads simply, but offers layers. Luscious, creamy pages provide contrast for the large, well-spaced font and the dark, furry figure that often bleeds off the page. Watercolor and pencil renderings capture the animal in moments of profound loneliness and extreme anger; he reacts to King Kong by smashing the TV in a page red with rage. Zookeepers fear for Beauty's safety, but her surprising intervention saves the day. Children will chuckle as they view the pair doing everything together, from using the bathroom to swinging from the lamp, like the mythical figure flying too close to the sun. (Bruegel's Fall of Icarus hangs in the background.) Browne's exquisite interpretation of a real-life gorilla is a welcome progression.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763649678
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/24/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 500,922
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.90 (w) x 11.04 (h) x 0.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony Browne, a Hans Christian Andersen Medalist, is the author-illustrator of many acclaimed books for children, including SILLY BILLY. He lives in Kent, England.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2009

    Sweet book

    What a sweet book. Had to read and reread it many times. Wonderful touches, down to the faces in the roses. Beautiful book

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    Cute

    I did not really care for this book but my grandson likes it. I bought it on the internet and now I try to go into the store to see it in person before I buy it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2009

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    Posted June 5, 2009

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    Posted June 26, 2009

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