Goodnight, Gorilla

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Author/ Illustrator: Peggy Rathman

Publisher/ Year: 1994

Number or Pages: 18

Genre: Picture Narrative



The zoo keeper makes sure to look up all the animals in their cages at night. He says goodnight to each of the them, but doesn’t know that the gorilla has stolen the keys and has let all the animals out. After the zoo keeper thinks he’s locked everything, he goes to his house, with the animals following close behind, and goes to sleep. The animals all pile in the room and go to sleep as well and say goodnight. The zoo keeper’s wife turns on the light, sees all the animals, and takes them back to their cages. The gorilla follows her back, climbs into bed and goes to sleep.

This book has no words so the pictures narrate the story. The pictures are very colorful and fun, keeping younger children engaged in the book. The pictures have no frames on them so readers are inside the story instead of looking in from the outside. The pictures have a rectangular shape which means that a character is not secure, or in this case, the zoo keeper’s keys are stolen and the cages are all unsecured.

Another fun way to keep children interested in this book, is that a mouse is always present on each of the pages. This is a fun way to see if children can find the tiny mouse on every page of the book. Sometimes the mouse is in plain sight, mostly next to the gorilla, but other times, he is hiding and it takes a longer time to find him.

This book is a great tool to help children come up with their own different ways of telling this story because the text is missing. The only words mentioned are “good night”. This allows children to challenge their creativity and to feel as if they have all the power because they are telling the story in their own special way. This allows for the story to be read multiple times because the story can still have the same ending, but can be told in multiple ways, according to the way each child would like.