Adorable, exciting! The new children’s picture books inspired by the true-life adventures of a lovable young gorilla from Uley in the Cotswolds is out now …
Meet the authors and the Illustrator
Claudia and Katherine MacInnes moved to Uley when Claudia was 10 years old. It came as a bit of a shock to find that a real gorilla featured in the old school photographs from a hundred years ago. He’s a legend in his home village. Now, one hundred years after John D Gorilla first charmed his neighbours, Claudia and Katherine have created four magical, humorous books that tell his story.
Rosie Brooks is the illustrator. She trained at the Ruskin School of Art in Cambridge and she now lives and works in London. She has produced artwork for a wide range of publications from books to opera programmes. This is the first time she has been called on to illustrate the adventures of a young Gorilla.
The history behind the books:
Claudia and Katherine MacInnes have penned four delightful tales to tell the story of one remarkable gorilla’s life. One hundred years ago, John Daniel arrived in Uley in the Cotswolds. He lived in the house, used the loo and even went to school with the village children.
John Daniel came from Gabon on a ship – a baby gorilla amongst a crowd of injured soldiers returning from The First World War. He ended up in a London department store and was bought by an RAF Major who was home on leave as a Christmas present for a recently bereaved aunt who lived in Uley in the Cotswolds. So to Uley John Daniel went and because his new home was very ‘proper’ this young gorilla was brought up to be very polite (he made his own bed and used cutlery at mealtimes) and useful (he would collect water from the village pump). Very soon John D Gorilla was a vital part of the community. It came as a shock to people to learn that an animal could mingle amongst the villagers and show the same kind of intelligence a child could show. It is safe to say the legend of John D Gorilla deserves retelling now in its full, unbelievably magical glory.