The Ape Star by Frida Nilsson is a heartwarming and unconventional story about love, adoption, friendship, and seeing from different perspectives. An animated adaption of the book is now showing worldwide.
In this award-winning chapter book about prejudice and justice, an orphan girl is adopted by a gorilla who lives in a junkyard and a surprising friendship grows between them.
Jonna lives in an orphanage whose manager is strict and obsessed with cleanliness. Like all the other children, Jonna has only one dream: to be adopted by a well-dressed mother who smells of perfume. But one day, a beat-up old car pulls up. The door opens and out step two thick hairy legs with muddy boots, followed by a belly as round as a barrel, and finally, a head like an overgrown pear. It’s a gorilla!
Surely the orphanage won’t let a gorilla adopt a child. But, to Jonna’s horror, the gorilla chooses her …
Jonna sleeps in a hammock, and in the evenings the gorilla reads Dickens in her worn armchair. It turns out that Jonna and the gorilla have a lot in common. But just when they’ve started to get along, a man from the council threatens to send Jonna back to the orphanage.
Take a look at the reviews from our Young Readers for The Ape Star by Frida Nilsson below
Book review from Michael, aged 12
Jonna is an orphan living in an orphanage run by a lady who gets the orphans to do all of the cleaning. Jonna and the other orphans all dream of being adopted, but they will probably never leave the orphanage grounds.
But, out of the blue Jonna gets adopted, not by a well-dressed woman, but by a big, hairy … GORILLA! Surely the orphanage won’t let gorilla adopt her! But, to Jonna’s horror, they do! What can go wrong?!?! But, Jonna soon realises she was wrong about gorilla. What will she do? Stay with gorilla, or try and escape and go back to the orphanage?
The book has been well written, and the story has a lot to say about going out and finding your place in the world, and about how much people judge others by their appearance instead of getting to know them. It also sheds light on how many people are pushed out of their homes and into the streets by developers, “in the name of progress”.
I would recommend this book for 8 to 12 year olds, and I also think that you should read it if you like a little laugh.
Book review from Kyle, 8
I really liked this book The Ape Star. It has 2 main characters which are Jonna and Gorilla. I like that she was adopted and found a new home. I like how she was scared in the beginning and not knowing what was going to happen and then found her new family. I like the twists and turns and how pieces are a little scary. I like how it all fits together like a mystery puzzle. I did not like the bad guys who tried to trick them. I also found some words a bit hard but I liked it as well because it helped me learn new things and words. I felt it really was an exciting and fun book. Thank you for choosing me. I loved it.
From a mom’s point of view …
I really loved how the book made him explore new words and look them up, he was excited to find out what they meant. Kyle loved the little exciting twists and hidden messages and seeing his face light up when he figured it all out was amazing! I loved how little giggles and gasps came out from him when he was reading, questions about adoption and orphanages came up and I love how we got to explore new topics and discuss how these made him feel.
Book review from Zara, aged 11
Kia ora. About a week ago I was given a book called The Ape Star by Frida Nilson. From the look of the front cover I thought it was going to be a book not for me, but I was definitely wrong. I actually ended up really enjoying this fiction story. It is based around a girl called Jonna who is around 9 years old and she lives in an orphanage with a strict manager called Gerd. This story tells us of her life being adopted by a gorilla and all the negatives and positives of her new life. I would give this book a 10 out of 10 star rating. I would also recommend this book to 7 to 12 year olds as they would enjoy it the most. I was even more delighted when I found out it was a movie.
A message to the author:
Maybe in the future you could make a book from the gorilla’s point of view and what struggles that she goes through as a child, what challenges she has to face and how she gets out of it in the end. And maybe how she met Jonna, their life together, and what she thinks of Jonna and her parenting life.
Book review from Sebastian, aged 12
The Ape Star is a heartwarming fiction genre book about a little girl who is adopted by a gorilla. Jonna lives at a prestigious orphanage run by Gerd, a neat freak woman who hates Jonna. The story has a mix of moments that fill you with surprise, happiness and sadness. When a gorilla arrives at the orphanage to adopt a child, Jonna is the only one not to scream and run inside upon revealing the gorilla herself. The gorilla sees this trait and ends up choosing Jonna to take home. This book has good descriptive language and gives you an idea of who each character is personally. You can imagine what that character is feeling at that very moment. 3.5 stars.
Book review from Molly, aged 11
In the start Jonna was just a girl at Renfanen orphanage Run by Gerd. Ape drives up and chooses her. It’s a book full of what will happen next and why did this happen. Jonna goes on adventures and sometimes feels a bit embarrassed to be with an ape in public. But as time goes on they connect and become really close until Jonna has to leave. I give this book a 3 out of 5.
Book review from Abigail, 9
The Ape Star by Frida Nilsson is about an orphan called Jonna who gets adopted by a Gorilla.
She goes to live with the gorilla at her scrapyard and Jonna feels very embarrassed being with her … but it wasn’t long before she enjoyed her new carer.
The Gorilla and Jonna face challenges from others who do not want them to remain together and we get to journey with them through it.
This book was very interesting and taught me that things aren’t always as bad as they may seem.
Families were provided with a copy of the book for the purposes of the review. Views are those of the reviewers. This article contains information provided by HarperCollins.
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