Fall 2022

The Ape Star

  • Interest Level: Grade 2 - Grade 5
  • Reading Level: Grade 3

In this award-winning chapter book about prejudice and justice, an orphan girl is adopted by a gorilla who lives in a junkyard. Their growing friendship defies all odds. Now an animated movie.

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. 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.

With funny dialogue and well-drawn characters, The Ape Star is a heart-warming and unconventional story for confident readers. Exploring themes of outsiders and standing up to authority, this illustrated novel for independent readers is about love, adoption, friendship, and seeing from different perspectives.

Includes illustrations from the movie animation, starring Stellan Skarsgård (Thor: Ragnarok, Mamma Mia).

Frida Nilsson is a leading Swedish author who has been an August Prize nominee three times and won the Astrid Lindgren Prize in 2014. She has been selected as one of Europe’s best emerging writers for young people through the Hay Festival’s Aarhus 39. She has been compared to Roald Dahl and Astrid Lindgren.

Translated from the Swedish edition by Julia Marshall.

Other books by Frida Nilsson:
The Ice Sea Pirates
Hattie and Olaf

Praise for The Ape Star
“Quirky characters make this a truly unusual coming-of-age tale.”—The Irish Times, Best Children’s Books of 2022

“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.”—The Listener, Top Children’s Books of 2022, NZ

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

“Children will love the quirky characters, the sparkling dialogue and the different slant on relationships that are the central themes of Nilsson’s resonant story. A triumph of storytelling by an exciting Swedish writer.”—Lancashire Post

“highly original and memorable.”—The School Reading List

“a delight!”—ReadPlus

Praise for The Ice Sea Pirates
“The spirited Siri faces abandonment, wolves, dastardly villains and near death in this thrilling novel.” Women’s Weekly

“Nilsson brings her characters to life with vibrant, original metaphors.” The Irish Times

Praise for Hattie
“Hattie is from the Pippi Longstocking school of clever, anti-establishment little girls who have the capacity for misrule until their conscience kicks in, their hearts turn to fondant and they return to the path of righteousness.” The Times

Praise for Hattie and Olaf

“A sparkling story that honors the sensibilities and world of young school children.” Kirkus Reviews

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 2 - Grade 5
Reading Level Grade 3
Copyright 2022
Publisher Gecko Press
Imprint Gecko Press
Language English
Number of Pages 200
Publication Date 2022-09-06
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV013010, JUV002020, JUV013050
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.7 x 8
Lexile 530
Features Original artwork

Author, Illustrator: Frida Nilsson

Frida Nilsson is a leading Swedish author, a major prizewinner and selected by the Hay Festival as one of Europe’s best emerging children’s writers. Her books have been widely translated throughout Europe and received numerous awards, including the Astrid Lindgren Prize.