cover image Willy the Champ

Willy the Champ

Anthony Browne. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $8.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-394-87907-9

Browne won the Kate Greenaway Award for Gorilla, a hit in England and America, as was his Willy the Wimp. In this sequel, the timid gorilla-youth is still the butt of the big bullies wherever he goes. Graphic, full-color pictures heighten effects, especially in scenes showing the variety of sporty outfits flaunted by the anthropomorphs. Willy tries to join a soccer team, a bike-racing group and other jock games, but the macho primates sneer and hoot at the little guy's ineptness. They laugh out loud when they catch Willy crying with his sweet girlfriend at a sad film. But the gang flees in terror when a behemoth almost the size of King Kong strides into town. Willy alone stays, rooted by fear, as the giant approaches. It happens, though, that the small one vanquishes the hood, if only by accident, and Willy is hailed as a hero. Readers will echo the cheers at the end of the fine and funny book. (48)