From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1–Gary is lonely because the other forest animals find a gorilla too intimidating to play with. A tiny sunbird named Ray sees his sadness and befriends him. Gary is happy, but still wishes he could have a family of his own. Ray finds Susan for him, and the rest is history. The extremely simple story line holds little drama, and the human names and anthropomorphized attitudes of the animals are at odds with the naturalistic illustrations. Despite the flatness of the story, readers will be entranced by the textured lino prints, reminiscent of the woodcuts in Gail E. Haley's A Story, A Story (Atheneum, 1970). Stylized and blocky but full of movement, the artwork is the highlight of this book. Purchase where jungle stories are in high demand, or for use in an art-appreciation lesson.Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
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Gary the gorilla is sad because he seems to be the only animal in the deep African jungle without a friend, until one day Ray, a tiny sunbird, flies into his hand, and they become best friends. Gary and Ray celebrate their friendship by dancing, singing, swinging, and playing hide-and-seek until Ray suddenly disappears, eventually returning with a surprise for Gary. Ray has found Susan, a female gorilla friend for Gary. It’s love at first sight; flip the page and we see Gary and Susan with a young gorilla and the message “And Gary was never lonely again.” The charming illustrations, vibrantly colored lino prints, will be a draw to many readers, showing the verdant jungle with several varieties of inhabitants. The sweet story about the yearning for companionship will resonate with many as well. Pair with Atsuko Morozumi’s My Friend Gorilla (1998) for a different gorilla-friendship story or Julia Durango’s Go-Go Gorillas (2010), about gorillas that really know how to live it up. Preschool-Grade 2. --Randall Enos