— Kara Dean
School Library Journal:
LLOYD, Jennifer. Murilla Gorilla: Jungle Detective. illus. by Jacqui Lee. 40p. Simply Read Books. May 2013. RTE $9.95. ISBN 978-1-927018-15-6. K-Gr 2
When banana muffins disappear from Ms. Chimpanzee's stall at the Mango Market, Murilla Gorilla is on the case. A trail of crumbs leads her to footprints, which she follows around the market. Mandrill, Hippo, and Tree Frog make impressions in the sand, but they are nothing like the tracks she is following. After taking a break at Leopard's Lemonade Stand, the detective visits Anteater's Crunchy Cookies and Okapi's Hammocks. As neither animal eats bananas, she resorts to a banana-tree disguise that attracts Little Chimp. His footprints match those of the muffin thief. While the satisfied detective sleeps beneath a tree, Ms. Chimpanzee and Little Chimp bake a new batch of muffins. The watercolor artwork features a peach, lime, and turquoise palette, capturing the languid, slow-paced world of the African rain forest. Murilla takes her time examining clues, talking to suspects, and trapping the culprit with a getup from her bottomless backpack. This charming, easy-to-read chapter book will delight emerging readers.
- Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Barnes & Noble Kids Blog:
Most early readers are pretty straightforward stories, set in vague times and places, without much urgency to the plot except whatever spirit the characters bring to the story. But the Murilla Gorilla stories are mysteries for the very young. The artwork is gorgeous. The setting is exotic. And Murilla won’t rest until she solves the case of the missing muffins. Maybe this series should be called “My First Page Turner.”
CM Magazine - 4/4 STARS REVIEW!
Award-winning Canadian author Jennifer Lloyd introduces emerging readers to loveable Murilla Gorilla, a slightly disorganized but well-meaning detective who is determined to solve mysteries in her own unique manner…and in her own time.
Murilla is awoken by a call from Ms. Chimpanzee who has made banana muffins to sell at Mango Market, but the muffins have gone missing. Murilla is dedicated to the case, but she takes her time getting out of bed and finding all the tools she needs to solve the mystery. Although she moves slowly, asks some silly questions, and perhaps takes more breaks than she really needs, Murilla eventually comes up with some great ideas to track down the muffin thief. Ms. Chimpanzee may doubt Murilla’s ability to solve the mystery, but readers will be delighted to watch Murilla take her time and methodically work her way through the clues that lead her to the answer she seeks. Murilla believes in herself, even though she faces several setbacks throughout the story, and readers will learn a valuable lesson in maintaining self-confidence through their own challenges.
Murilla Gorilla: Jungle Detective provides a stepping stone from early readers to first chapter books. Each of its five chapters contains 6 to 8 pages, and clear medium sized text is balanced well with white space. Short sentences and plenty of dialogue allow for easier reading and keep the story moving. Although the book would make sense through text alone, whimsical watercolour illustrations by Jacqui Lee provide support and will appeal to readers who still enjoy reading pictures as well as text.
Murilla Gorilla: Jungle Detective is the first in a new series of early readers and would be a welcome addition to the personal libraries of emerging readers or in their school or public libraries.
Read it, Daddy blog:
This book really feels fresh, exciting and it's hilariously funny and we won't shut up about it until you've checked it out. Murilla Gorilla is utterly fab!
PRAISE FOR THE MURILLA GORILLA SERIES:
Murilla Gorilla, Jungle Detective is a 2013 Alcuin Society Award for Excellence in Book Design second prize winner, and was selected as a 2014 Canadian Toy Testing Council 'Recommended Read', a 2013 Ontario Library Association 'Best Bets for Children', and a 2013 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens STAR!
Murilla Gorilla and the Lost Parasol is a spring 2014 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens selection!
Murilla Gorilla and the Hammock Problem is a 2014 Alcuin Awards for Excellence in Book Design first prize winner!
“Readers will be hungry for more."
~ New York Times
“Will delight emerging readers.”
~ School Library Journal
~ Publisher’s Weekly
"This early reader is a pleasure."
~ Kirkus Reviews
"The playful silliness of the book will appeal to emerging readers. Give this one to fans of Amelia Bedelia—Murilla Gorilla has the same sort of clueless charm."
"Maybe this series should be called 'My First Page Turner.'"
~ Barnes & Noble Kids Blog