Wednesday 10 May 2017

Gorinjas - the beginning

Gorinjas - the beginning by Mark Lancaster, illustrated by Inma Vassar (Moshpit Publishing) PB RRP $13.50   ISBN 978-1925529715

Reviewed by Stacey Gladman

Throughout life we face adversity and challenges: the real challenge is how we deal with them. Gorinjas - the beginning introduces the reader to two young characters - Gonga and Jemma - with a twist. Both Gonna and Jemma and all characters in the book are gorillas. Much like humans, the gorillas attend school and have their own problems to deal with, such as bullying.

Gonga and Jemma have been bullied throughout their lives. A chance sighting of a legend among the gorillas - Shintu - sets them on a path to self-discovery through martial arts. Shintu was himself trained in martial arts by monks and begins to teach the two young gorillas the intricate nature of martial arts.

The fast-paced action story has everything for young readers aged eight to 12 year-old including martial arts, secret tunnels and life lessons. The story flowed well throughout, with readers getting a good sense of understanding what was happening without stagnating for young readers. A more serious undertone of determination and hard work pays off in the end for Gonga and Jemma, with the pair eventually coming face to face with their bully, but will their training be enough?

The book is written in easy-to-read chapters, interspersed with monochrome drawings throughout at key scenes which add their own element to the story experience. The idea of writing from a gorillas point of view is interesting and comes across well, which I believe helps the reader relate to the central characters.

Gorinjas - the beginning appears to be part of an ongoing series and I can see young readers wanting to read on and find out what adventures Gonga and Jemma go on next. The book has the potential to be used as a learning tool on how to deal with adversity in a non-violent manner and how to learn about the inner peace and calm that martial arts is centred around.

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