King Kong’s Cousin

Beach Lane/S. & S./. Aug. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781665912303.
PreS-Gr 1–It’s hard for Junior, a normal gorilla living in a New York apartment building with his mother and cat, Bernice, not to compare himself to his famous and much bigger and stronger cousin, King Kong. Kong wrestles dinosaurs and climbs skyscrapers, while Junior does chores like hanging laundry and feeding his goldfish, Larry. Junior doesn’t believe his mom, who says, “You’re just as special as your cousin.” Readers see him lifting weights, eating bamboo, and marking his height in valiant attempts to measure up. Then Junior attends the Thanksgiving Day Parade (where Kong is grand marshal, of course), where he completes a sweet act of heroism when he’s able to rescue Bernice from a tree. In a charming nod to black-and-white films, Teague’s illustrations depict sharp contrasts between Kong’s heroic and exciting life and Junior’s normal one. Young readers will love seeing that Junior can be a hero in his own right.
VERDICT This story would work well for a preschool read-aloud and will be welcomed on the shelves by children who strive to be taller and stronger. An easy purchase for public libraries.

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