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the boy and the gorilla
by jackie azúa kramer
illustrated by Cindy Derby
2021 Bank Street College Best Children's Books of the Year
Winner of Japan's 31st Bronze Kembuchi Picture Book Award
*"The gorilla’s honest yet reassuring responses offer the child relief in the quest to understand. Feelings of hurt, confusion, isolation, and even resentment are acknowledged, but the gorilla’s gentle presence and wise responses help to recenter the soul. The artwork, full of expressive brush strokes and washes of color, offers a poeticism that perfectly matches the text. Luminous." Kirkus Starred Review
*"Kramer (The Green Umbrella) successfully walks a delicate line between foregrounding the boy’s sadness (“When will I feel better?”) and the gorilla’s miraculous presence. Somehow, the gorilla’s words sound less treacly than a human grown-up’s might (“Each bite is like a memory,” the gorilla says when the boy makes his mother’s favorite cookies), and they offer meaningful support and comfort to the boy until he’s ready to reach out elsewhere."
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"the gorilla is a magnificent towering presence, touched with glimmering purple, whose calm attentiveness makes him a massive boulder of support. The book tacitly addresses the problem bereaved kids struggle with—how to draw on your parent when your parent is grieving too—while walking youngsters gently but surely through both hard and comforting truths about loss. This is honesty with a feather touch, and both kids and adults will welcome the book's artistry and compassionate candor."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books- Starred Review