Quirky characters make this a truly unusual coming-of-age tale.

The Irish Times Children’s books of the year

The Ape Star

In this awardwinning 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 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.

The Ape Star is a heartwarming and unconventional chapter book about love, adoption, friendship, and seeing from different perspectives.

An animated adaption starring Stellan Skarsgård (Thor: Ragnarok, Mamma Mia) is now showing worldwide.

Written by Frida Nilsson, with images from the feature film by LEE Films. Translated by Julia Marshall.

Read the first chapter | Look inside video | Film trailer | Author Q&A

Ebook available wherever you buy your ebooks

  • Book Details

    Country of Origin Sweden
    Reader Age 6-8 year, 8-12 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. Kāpiti News

      The book is easy to read and Nilsson’s writing is sincere and funny. Highly recommended.

    2. The Listener, Top 50 Kids Books

      This explosion of the classic orphan adoption trope is laugh-out-loud funny while making plenty of points about outsiders and standing up for yourself.

    3. The Irish Times Children’s books of the year

      Quirky characters make this a truly unusual coming-of-age tale.

    4. Kristen, Netgalley

      A book that will delight readers of all ages.

    5. School Reading List

      Highly original and memorable

    6. Book-marked

      This enchanting chapter book – ideal for reading aloud of new readers – tackles contemporary issues of economic hardship, marginalisation and justice with warmth, wit, compassion and insight. A triumph of storytelling by an exciting Swedish writer.

    7. Just Imagine

      This unconventional story is absorbing, poignant and funny with themes of prejudice, family love, loyalty and acceptance ensuring that it is an affecting read.

    8. Jo Bowers

      Just read this in one sitting, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s heartwarming, different, life-affirming and a story you want to be in!

Available worldwide from your local bookstore or online.

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