Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
“Little toy, hear this
Let it take you back in time,
Tales of sadness or of glory,
Little toy, reveal your story.”
Robin’s grandpa casts his magic spell on the toy in Ken and Angie Lake’s story, Gavin the Gorilla and Snuffles.
Targeted toward preschool to middle school aged children, this small paperback is part of “The Diaries of Robin’s Toys” ten-book series. With no scary or violent scenes, it is ideal to be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated words. Having different punctuation, capitalization, and spelling rules in the United Kingdom, the format may confuse American readers. Written on notebook-looking lined paper with easy-to-read font, the black and white illustrations by Madhav and Loitongbam are simplistic yet understandable.
In this wordy tale, Robin notices the new student at school. Feeling bad that the boy is being bullied, he invites thin, shy Mark to his house where he learns the kid is superb at cricket.
Later Grandad stops by and takes Robin to the car boot sale (similar to a swap meet in America), where he is allowed to pick out a toy. Robin picks out a toy gorilla and his little dog. Grandad casts a special spell on them, knowing they have an interesting story to tell.
At first, the frightened Gavin the gorilla and his protective dog named Snuffles question if Robin and Grandad are friendly. Warming up to them, Gavin explains he is the largest of primates and originally from central Africa. Sometimes called Mountain gorillas, his breed are herbivores.
Gavin says he lived in a safari park and wanted to be a veterinarian, but all animals were afraid of him so he joined the circus. When he witnessed an accident, he became friends with Snuffles, who always stood up for him. Gavin was sent back to the safari park where he saved a baby antelope and Snuffles told everyone how kind he was.
Learning from the gorilla and little dog, Robin recognizes that Mark is an excellent cricket player and picks him first to be on his team at school. The other children learn about the boy’s skills and befriend him.
By teaching not to prejudge others, this book not only focuses on helping others, it provides information on gorillas that is fun and interesting. Children will enjoy reading how a toy’s story reveals engaging educational information while teaching an important lesson.
Thanks to the publisher and Bookpleasures for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.