Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
February 4, 2009 in Art activities, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Rathmann, Peggy, Shared Writing Tags: Good Night Gorilla, illustrations, Making Personal Connections, Peggy Rathmann, picture book about animals, picture books, picture books about the zoo
Reviewed by Margo Dill, email@example.com, www.margodill.com
Picture book for babies to kindergarteners, contemporary
Gorilla as main character
Rating: Funny and cute with wonderful illustrations!
Short, short summary: Good Night, Gorilla does not have many words, but it tells a complete story, mostly through the illustrations. The gorilla is following the zookeeper around while he says good night to each animal. The zookeeper doesn’t realize that the gorilla has his keys and is unlocking each animal’s cage. The animals are following the zookeeper and gorilla and go all the way to his house–to his bedroom as a matter of fact. They all curl up with some of the animals in the bed. When Mrs. Zookeeper says, “Good night,” she hears many, many replies. She turns on the light, and in her no-nonsense way, she takes the animals back to the zoo. But what about that gorilla and his little mouse friend?
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Your students or children will LOVE this book and LOVE the gorilla. This is a book where it is very important to look at the illustrations carefully and to discuss them because the illustrations tell most of the story. Talk about the colorful keys and cages. Ask your students if they notice any pattern (the key that unlocks the cage is the same color as the cage). What about what is in each animal’s cage? Talk to your little ones about these specific details in the illustrations. Then they will most likely want to draw a picture of their favorite animal in a cage or coming out of his cage.
2. Many children have been to the zoo. Have a discussion with your class or your students about the ways the zoos they have visited and the zoo in the book are the same or different. You can draw a Venn Diagram on the board to compare and contrast and introduce students to this graphic organizer, or you can just make a list! Ask your students to bring in a few pictures of their trips to the zoo if possible.
3. Since there are so few words in this book, you and your students can add more for a shared writing activity. You can use post-it notes to create speech bubbles that could go above each animal and tell what he or she is either thinking or even saying. For example, when the gorilla has his finger to his mouth, what is he saying? What is he thinking? Your students or your child will have fun adding dialogue to this book!
If you have read Good Night, Gorilla with your child or your students, please leave a comment here and tell us what you did. For more information on children’s books, check out this blog: The Children’s Literature Book Club.