cover image Little Beauty

Little Beauty

Anthony Browne, . . Candlewick, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-3959-4

Inspired by the story of Koko, the sign-language-fluent gorilla, and her pet kitten, Browne (Voices in the Park ) imagines a similar interspecies friendship. His nameless signing gorilla seems to have everything he needs: a comfy chair (the upholstery looks positively Pierre Deux), a TV and a cheeseburger, but something is not right: the look on his face screams, “Is that all there is?” His ennui evaporates, however, with the arrival of a tiny kitten named Beauty. “They did everything together,” Browne notes on one of the funny, touching spreads that ensue; in this particular case, he shows that these BFFs can't be separated even when nature calls. Playing with scale and perspective, continually recalibrating the level of detail (on some closeups, the individual hairs of the gorilla's fur coat are distinct), imbuing his simian hero with a range of emotion worthy of a young Marlon Brando, Browne creates an unpredictable visual vocabulary in sync with the unlikely but enduring affection between Beauty and beast. Ages 3–5. (Nov.)