One Gorilla A Counting Book, written and illustrated by Anthony Browne. Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA, 2013.
This is the kind of counting book adult readers will never tire of. It’s an art book, a science book and a math book all in one. But it’s even more than that. It’s a book that beautifully portrays what Pete Seeger referred to as our “rainbow race.”
On the first page we meet a formidable gorilla. Take a good look at his eyes. He’s sizing you up, as if to say, “I recognize you, fellow primate.”
The second page is a blast of orange portraying two orangutans, a mother and baby. The mother looks lovingly at the sweet face of her contented baby. Number three depicts an adult chimpanzee and two chimps. I like to think this adult is a dad. There’s something quite fatherly about the way he’s holding the two “toddlers.”
Every page that increases the number of primates is a riot of color. The mixed media illustrations, portraying our ancestral cousins, jump off the page.
Lest you think the story is over when you get to ten lemurs, turn the page to discover a self-portrait of the author. “All primates. All one family. All my family..” the text reads. Turn one more page and there is our “rainbow race,” a group picture of folks from all over the world. Now look closer. Go back to the previous pages and see if you can match up the human faces with our lesser cousins. This is, quite simply, one of the most intriguing and beautiful counting books I’ve seen.
We’ve got to get this one! One of Oskar’s words is gorilla. You’d think he’d pick dog or kitty. No, his only animal word is gorilla!
Sent from my iPad
Stephanie, I adore Anthony Browne’s books, but this one is above and beyond. Your review is, too. Thanks for making sure it reaches even wider audiences. Sandy
My daughter got this copy at Frugal Muse at a discount price. I was surprised because it’s a fairly new book. Thanks for the comment!