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The Murderer's Ape

Cover of The Murderer's Ape

The Murderer's Ape

"This may be the most charming book I've read all year." —The New York Times
"I don't know when I last read a book with such pure and unalloyed pleasure." —Philip Pullman, internationally bestselling author of The Golden Compass
A captivating story about dark truths and heinous crimes as well as unexpected friendships, with detailed black-and-white illustrations throughout. Perfect for fans of Brian Selznick and mystery and detective stories.


Sally Jones is not only a loyal friend, she's an extraordinary individual. In overalls or in a maharaja's turban, this unique gorilla moves among humans without speaking but understanding everything. She and the Chief are devoted comrades who operate a cargo boat. A job they are offered pays big bucks, but the deal ends badly, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder.

For Sally Jones this is the start of a harrowing quest for survival and to clear the Chief's name. Powerful forces are working against her, and they will do anything to protect their secrets.
"This may be the most charming book I've read all year." —The New York Times
"I don't know when I last read a book with such pure and unalloyed pleasure." —Philip Pullman, internationally bestselling author of The Golden Compass
A captivating story about dark truths and heinous crimes as well as unexpected friendships, with detailed black-and-white illustrations throughout. Perfect for fans of Brian Selznick and mystery and detective stories.


Sally Jones is not only a loyal friend, she's an extraordinary individual. In overalls or in a maharaja's turban, this unique gorilla moves among humans without speaking but understanding everything. She and the Chief are devoted comrades who operate a cargo boat. A job they are offered pays big bucks, but the deal ends badly, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder.

For Sally Jones this is the start of a harrowing quest for survival and to clear the Chief's name. Powerful forces are working against her, and they will do anything to protect their secrets.
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About the Author-
  • JAKOB WEGELIUS is a Swedish writer and illustrator who lives and works in the small village of Mörtfors. In Sweden, he was awarded the August Prize for Best Children's Book and the Nordic Council Children and Young People's Literature Prize for The Murderer's Ape, which is also an International Youth Library White Raven selection. Visit Jakob at jakobwegelius.com.
    About the Translator:
    PETER GRAVES is a translator from the Scandinavian languages and has received many Swedish Academy prizes for his translations.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 31, 2016
    Sally Jones is a top-notch engineer, excels at chess, and exceeds expectations at every turn—that she is a gorilla may be the least interesting thing about her. Working aboard a cargo ship, the Hudson Queen, with her dear friend Chief, Sally Jones is content and safe, but when a job goes awry, Chief lands in prison for murder and only Sally Jones knows he is innocent. Determined to clear his name, the indomitable gorilla forges unexpected friendships, travels countless miles, and barely survives death on numerous occasions. Meticulous black-and-white character illustrations introduce key players at the novel’s start, and spot illustrations adorn the heading of each chapter, offer tempting glimpses of what awaits. Originally published in Sweden and ostensibly typed out by the gorilla on a typewriter, Wegelius’s story is a thrilling adventure, but it’s Sally Jones’s devotion to her friends and poignant observations that set it apart (“Poor Chief,” she thinks after his arrest. “The accident wasn’t his fault, but he would never forgive himself, I knew that”). Prepare to meet the remarkable Sally Jones; you won’t soon forget her. Ages 12–up.

  • Caldecott Medal winner Paul O. Zelinsky "Slyly funny and poignant . . . a thrilling adventure."
  • The New York Times Book Review "This may be the most charming book I've read all year. It's a challenge to build a story around a protagonist who can't speak, and Wegelius does this skillfully, emphasizing qualities that make us human."
  • Kirkus Reviews, Starred "Features a complex mystery, an intricately constructed narrative, and deep characters. Committed, careful readers will be richly rewarded."
  • Booklist, Starred "A richly imagined and thoroughly unique adventure."
  • PW, Starred "A thrilling adventure. Prepare to meet the remarkable Sally Jones; you won't soon forget her."
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    Random House Children's Books
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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The Murderer's Ape
The Murderer's Ape
Jakob Wegelius
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