Big Gorilla: A book of opposites by Anthony Browne

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Anthony Browne is one of my grandchildren’s favourite authors, and when another wonderful book of his appeared across my desk I seized it immediately. And what a joy it is! It is a fascinating way to learn about opposites and primates while delighting in Browne’s exquisitely detailed illustrations.

Children who are familiar with Browne’s drawings of primates (Gorilla) will be thrilled to revisit his fascinating drawings and those new to Browne’s work will want to seek out more of his books.

Big Gorilla: A Book of Opposites is deceptively simple. It shows the opposite of old, sad, heavy, alone, big, and the opposite of opposite. For example, the question is posed ‘What’s the opposite of old?’ on one side of a double page spread and on the other side is a picture of a very old gorilla. Turning the page is another double page spread, the left page with the single word ‘Young’ and the most exquisite drawing of a baby brown gorilla with a thumb in his mouth. The expressions on all the faces are very moving, especially the illustration of the primate who is sad. His downward mouth, his frowning eyebrows and miserable eyes will have readers feeling so sorry for him while the opposite word ‘happy’ showing a gorilla smiling at a bright yellow flower is such a contrast. The hundreds of primates illustrating ‘Together,’ all with different expressions on their faces will provide hours of fun for young children looking each detailed drawing and picking the ones they love the best.

Big Gorilla: A Book of Opposites will join One gorilla: A counting bookWilly and the cloud, and How do you feel? as memorable books that entertain and educate young children. Highly recommended.

Themes: Opposites, Primates.

Pat Pledger