PPBF: One Gorilla, A Counting Book

Author/Illustrator: Anthony Browne
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2012
Age Level: 3-7
Themes: counting book, primates
Opening: ‘1 gorilla.’ (The suspense is killing you now, eh?)
Summary: Spoiler alert: 1 – 10, and a little extra. Okay, so there is not much of a story going on here, BUT there is, really, once you get past 10…


Why I like this book: I don’t. I LOVE IT! The primate master is at it again! If, by some remote chance, you don’t know who Anthony Browne is, or if you’ve only read a book or two, I obviously need to fill you in. This Brit has been making picture books since the mid-seventies, been bestowed with a gazillion awards, and was the UKs Children’s Laureate from 2009-2011. Not only does he write wonderful books (about 40 now), he illustrates them. But when describing his work ‘illustrate’ is too simple a word. He breathes life into his pictures, and they breathe life back into the viewer. Stunning comes close – you do feel a bit of an electric shock, but with a strong magnetic pull. Try it.



‘Wise guy’ quote: (I nabbed Browne’s from a post at forbiddenplanet.co.uk) “‘I hope to encourage more children to discover and love reading, but I want to focus particularly on the appreciation of picture books, and the reading of both pictures and words. Picture books are for everybody at any age, not books to be left behind as we grow older. The best ones leave a tantalising gap between the pictures and the words, a gap that is filled by the reader’s imagination, adding so much to the excitement of reading a book.’

Resources/Activities: this counting book can easily prompt a discussion on what a primate is, their different habitats – even the different sounds each one makes – HERE is the link to a website from the National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin, with a whole bunch of calls you can listen to.

For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks go to Susanna Hill’s blog – any day

36 thoughts on “PPBF: One Gorilla, A Counting Book

    • Only ten? Poor thing! I can have 20, and, shhhh, I abuse the system by using my husband’s and daughter’s cards. My son figured it out and won’t let me touch his! I am one of the few patrons who can sometimes barely carry their holds to the checkout in one go!


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  2. In the illustration of all the ape people (Alice in APEland 😉 and Through the Looking Glass), the two apes holding each other (arms around shoulders), Tweedledee and Tweedledum are great! 🙂 I like all the hidden bananas in the picture too!


  3. The 1st thing that came to my limited canine brain when I saw that cover was “stunning!” and then there you said the very word! I like that word. And it’s a Candlewick Book. I think they know all about stunning. Your review is stunning as well. I will have to check this book out! And more of Mr Brownes! Thanks!


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  5. Great book, Julie! And thank you for including the little blurb and quote about the author…I love what he had to say about picture books and how the words and pictures need to leave something to the imagination of the reader/listener…very helpful advice as we write. 🙂


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  7. Pingback: PPBF: Seven Bad Cats | julie rowan-zoch

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