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From the PublisherMurilla the gorilla employs her detecting talents to track down a missing parasol. Not surprisingly, it is raining in the African rain forest. It has rained right through Murilla’s roof, so she makes her way to the market, which, despite the rain, is all sunny colors, like the inside of a cupcake shop. Before Murilla can buy a new mop, Parrot requests help in tracking down a missing parasol from his shop. (In the rain forest, parasols are a hot commodity.) Dear Murilla, who, as the forest’s resident detective, has as much focusing power as Mr. Magoo, bumbles her way to the solution—elementary, but as gratifying as a ray of light breaking through the clouds, and one that allows all the citizens of the forest to remain innocent. This early reader is a pleasure but no gimme. There is plenty to challenge, starting with parasol but also magnifying glass, mandrill, okapi, chimpanzee and hammocks. This on top of Lee’s illustrations, which are not so much busy as full, especially with the mayhem of Murilla’s life. Despite that, there is a sense of equanimity; Murilla won’t, can’t, is utterly clueless about being hurried, and it is easy to imagine holding her hand and sauntering along as she uncovers what happened. All the fun of a mystery carried on the rhythm of the tropics. (Early reader. 5-8) - Kirkus Review
The New York Times
“Murilla Gorilla” is, above all, a pleasure to read and look at. Like the cheeky rascal who stole the muffins, readers will be hungry for more.
Murilla Gorilla joins a proud tradition of sleuths whose cases are solved as much by dumb luck as by skill. Over five chapters, Murilla tries to figure out who ate the banana muffins that Ms. Chimpanzee had been planning to sell at the Mango Market. Readers will quickly get the sense that Murilla isn’t a conventional detective. In the first chapter, she goes back to sleep after getting Ms. Chimpanzee’s phone call, and it takes her some time to track down her backpack and badge (“It was in the bathtub!”). Lloyd (Ella’s Umbrellas) works lots of deadpan humor into her trim sentences. “Do you like bananas?” Murilla asks Ms. Chimpanzee, getting an idea. “Murilla! I am not the muffin thief!” shouts the increasingly frustrated baker. While this is a charming debut for Murilla, it’s also a strong one for Lee—her sherbet palette and friendly characterizations are an ideal fit for the book’s blend of mystery and comedy. When Murilla dons a banana tree costume and tries to stay awake long enough to catch the perpetrator, she’s nothing short of a vision. Ages 5–8. (May) - Publisher's Weekly
Praise for Ella's Umbrellas also by Jennifer Lloyd:
Canadian Toy Testing Council Top 10 Great Books for Children 2011
Nominated for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize, 2010!
Winner of an Alcuin Award, 2010
Colourful illustrations by Ashley Spires add considerable appeal, and the embossed raindrops on the cover (visible only when light hits them, although they can be discerned by touch) will delight observant youngsters. - Montreal Gazette
Ella’s Umbrellas is an enchanting combination of Jennifer Lloyd’s playful, alliterative text and Ashley Spires’ quirky watercolours. Both provide knowing, gentle humour and contribute to the story’s sweet conclusion. - Quill and Quire