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Murilla Gorilla: Jungle Detective
by Jennifer Lloyd
Illustrated by Jacqui Lee
AGES: 5 to 8
PAGES: 44
SIZE: 6 x 9
RIGHTS: World
PRICES: $9.95 US, $11.95 Cdn
HARDCOVER: 978-1-927018-15-6

 

Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids and Teens 2013 STAR!

 

New York Times:

“Murilla Gorilla” is, above all, a pleasure to read and look at. Like the cheeky rascal who stole the muffins, readers will be hungry for more.

 

Publisher's Weekly:

Murilla Gorilla joins a proud tradition of sleuths whose cases are solved as much by dumb luck as by skill. Over five chapters, Murilla tries to figure out who ate the banana muffins that Ms. Chimpanzee had been planning to sell at the Mango Market. Readers will quickly get the sense that Murilla isn’t a conventional detective. In the first chapter, she goes back to sleep after getting Ms. Chimpanzee’s phone call, and it takes her some time to track down her backpack and badge (“It was in the bathtub!”). Lloyd (Ella’s Umbrellas) works lots of deadpan humor into her trim sentences. “Do you like bananas?” Murilla asks Ms. Chimpanzee, getting an idea. “Murilla! I am not the muffin thief!” shouts the increasingly frustrated baker. While this is a charming debut for Murilla, it’s also a strong one for Lee—her sherbet palette and friendly characterizations are an ideal fit for the book’s blend of mystery and comedy. When Murilla dons a banana tree costume and tries to stay awake long enough to catch the perpetrator, she’s nothing short of a vision. Ages 5–8. (May)

 

Booklist:

There is mischief afoot at the Mango Market, and Murilla Gorilla is on the case. In this first entry in a new series of early reader mysteries, Murilla is hired by Mrs. Chimpanzee to solve the case of her missing banana muffins. Readers won’t need to borrow Murilla’s magnifying glass to follow along with the clues, which establish a motive and possible suspect early on. Murilla’s meandering detection allows readers to meet several supporting characters who represent the variety of exotic animals living in the jungle. And though Murilla may wander, the text does not; the chapters are succinct and the vocabulary focused, keeping new readers on track and interested. The illustrations are awash with soft pastels, creating a backdrop as warm as the sun over the African rain forest. Often sleepy, slightly disorganized, but never in a rush, Murilla Gorilla has her own methods, which mystify and frustrate her client but get the job done.

— 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


“Charming.”

~ 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."

~ Booklist

 

"Maybe this series should be called 'My First Page Turner.'"

~ Barnes & Noble Kids Blog