Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Written by Elise Broach and illustrated by Richard Egielski. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010.
Tally ho, we’re off to the jungle in this story! Grab your binoculars, hiking boots, and canteen! Uncle Nigel is Peter’s favorite uncle, and one day, he invites Peter on an expedition to Africa. He’s trying to find the Zimbobo Mountain Gorilla, the wildest of beasts. On their way through the jungle, Peter encounters many obstacles, but Uncle Nigel is quick to reassure him that he can overcome them – “all it takes is a bit of gumption.” In case you didn’t know, gumption means courage. I love the message in this book that all things are possible, especially when you have the support of your family. The illustrations are bright and colorful, and they convey another element to the story. While Uncle Nigel plows ahead, Peter gets some help from the many wild animals they are in search of in the jungle. The reader sees what’s going on, but Uncle Nigel is none the wiser! Another charming element to this story is the “old-fashioned” expressions from Uncle Nigel – “I say!” or “Nonsense, my boy!” They make this story a wonderful read-aloud, and in case you’re wondering if they ever find the elusive Zimbobo Mountain Gorilla, well, you’re just going to have to read this book to find out!