Gumption!

Elise Broach, Author, Richard Egielski, Illustrator , illus. by Richard Egielski. S&S/Atheneum $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4169-1628-4

When Peter's favorite Uncle Nigel takes him on an expedition to Africa, their first goal is to see a “Zimbobo Mountain Gorilla.” As Peter struggles during their five-mile hike, good-natured Uncle Nigel insists that he can do it, telling him, “All it takes is a bit of gumption.” The book's humor is provided by Egielski's (The Fabulous Feud of Gilbert and Sullivan ) expert watercolors that show Uncle Nigel's upbeat obliviousness while Peter gets a helping hand from some wild animals in nearly wordless four-panel scenes (a snake, elephant, and one of the rare gorillas help him negotiate the terrain, and later Peter rescues his uncle from an alligator). Throughout, Uncle Nigel is totally unaware of the danger. Broach (When Dinosaurs Came with Everything ) plays with the familiar British explorer stereotype (Uncle Nigel gets plenty of lines like “Jolly good, Peter!” and “I say! Elephant dung!”), and Egielski's twig-bordered paintings have a Teddy Roosevelt adventurousness that will keep readers giggling at how hapless some grownups—and how resourceful some children—can be. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/08/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
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