Little Gorilla is one of those rare books I don't discuss much in this series, the book my son loves much more than me. I found the art to be a bit off-putting and gorillas are certainly not my favorite creatures, but for my son, this book was amazing.
We will read it time and again and he is always fascinated by the beginning of the book. Who loves little Gorilla, he'll ask me. He wants a recitation of names and he superimposes his own life onto this book. "Does Uncle E gorilla love the Nathie gorilla?" he begs of me, Nathie being his name for himself. Does the mommy? Does the other grandma? How much do they love him? Is that the baby's hand? Is it reaching for his daddy?
Then, we move into the animal section. What animals are there? What are they doing? Do they love the Nathie gorilla? While I get little joy from the illustrations, my son's thrill with the story tempers that and the story's gentle message that growing up doesn't cause love to fade makes me smile.
Every time we read this, the story ends with my singing of Happy Birthday and the blowing out of the candles on the cake for Little Gorilla by my little son. And every time we finish reading this, I remember how much, exactly, I love his reaction to it.