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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 1 year, 9 months ago

19 October 2020 THE BOY AND THE GORILLA by Jackie Azua Kramer and Cindy Derby, ill. Candlewick, October 2020, 48p., ISBN: 978-0-7636-9832-4


“Those are people who died, died

Those are people who died, died

Those are people who died, died

Those are people who died, died

They were all my friends, and they died”

-- Jim Carroll (1980)


There will be ten thousand movies made about the year 2020. None of them are going to make us nostalgic, make us want to go back and do 2020 a second time. 


220,368. That’s the US death toll currently listed on the John Hopkins Coronavirus website. It has increased by thousands since I wrote my rough draft a few days ago. Marking my significant sixty-fifth birthday at the beginning of the pandemic and then seeing all those people, including a family member, die, I’ve become far more attuned to mortality. 


With so much death on the news, and in those homes where there is an empty space at the dinner table, we need a good book for little kids about death.




“How do you know when someone dies?

A person’s body stops working.

Like their heartbeat?



Will we all die?

Yes. We all do. But you have many more kites to fly.


Where did Mom go?

No one knows for sure.

Maybe Mom’s here. She liked the waves.


Can’t my mom come back home.

No. But she’s always with you.”


THE BOY AND THE GORILLA is equally notable for its acutely relevant discussion of death, and for its compelling visual story of an imaginary gorilla who arrives in the wake of a little boy’s mother’s funeral and becomes his constant companion. On the swings, in the house, at the shore, and on the bus, the gorilla is a steady, comforting presence, providing companionship, answers, and advice to the boy. 


This is a notable picture book about death, published at a timely moment when it is needed.


Be well. Wear a mask. 


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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