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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
How many of you know how to write a letter, and have actually written a letter? Do you enjoy writing letters and, better yet, receiving them in the mailbox (not the email box, but the real mailbox)? Well, there is a gorilla named Silverback Jeremy who has written a letter and he wants us all to read it. He speaks of the dangers and threats we humans pose to our natural environment and to the natural places he and so many other animals call home. In his letter, he compares gorillas to humans, pointing out that we really aren’t that different, but we humans seem to care less about the world around us and others who live in this world.
Wayne Gerard Trotman’s picture book story, A Letter From a Gorilla, is written in rhyming verse and in the form of a personal letter to all of us. Accompanied by beautiful illustrations, this story describes the gorilla, his natural habitat, and how humans are a threat to the lives of gorillas and so many other wild animals. The letter begins by pointing out the similarities between gorillas and humans: “Your cruelty surprises me, for your knowledge is vast/ But it seems that man has forgotten his distant past/ However, there are certain truths we gorillas hold fast/ Men and gorillas are relatives, from first to last.” And the letter goes on to describe the similarities before pointing out the bad impact humans are having on the world around them. Sadly, gorillas are becoming an endangered species, like so many other wild animals, and this letter is cleverly constructed to point out the many ways we humans have threatened their continuance on this planet. A powerful message in a well-constructed letter.