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Children’s Book Review: Goodnight Gorilla

September 26th, 2007

Goodnight Gorilla, by Peggy Rathmann

Kenny discovered this unusual and captivating book a few weeks ago when we were vacationing in the Outer Banks.   It must have been left by a family before us, and I hope that they, whomever they are, were crushed to find it missing and have already  bought another copy by now, because this one is a keeper!

When we first began reading it, I thought, “Hm… the text here is a little … um… slim.”   But as big fans of the Carl books by Alexandra Day, we pressed on, filling out the story as we turned the pages.   And we are so glad that we did!   For the last three weeks, this has been Kenny’s “one last book” before both naps and bedtime, sometimes even twice in a row.   Only now it takes us fifteen minutes to read, because we’ve filled in so much “story” to the incredibly detailed and intelligently humorous illustrations.  

The story is just the sort of thing to excite a  budding imagination: As a night watchman checks to see that all the animals in the zoo are safely locked in for the night, a mischievous gorilla steals his keys, and lets all of the animals out behind them.   They end up following the night watchman home, and into his room.   I won’t tell anymore, because I hope you all go out and buy this  book for your own little ones!  

Kenny’s favorite thing about the book, this week anyway, is the discovery that on every page in the book, there is a purple balloon slowly floating away.   A mouse lets go of it on the first page, and Kenny delights in following it’s progress as we read through the story.   This is one of those unique children’s books that sparks conversations, yes, even with a two-year-old, everytime you read them.   We’ve talked about what all the animals do, how they sound, what they eat and why they sneak out to follow the night watchman home.   We’ve noticed that all the animals have stuffed animals in their cages to sleep with, and that the mouse really likes bananas.

If Kenny were writing this review, he would say, “Read it again!”


  1. Julie says

    Oh we love this book too! I keep noticing more little patterns each time I read it… Last night I noticed that the gorilla was in some of the family pictures on the wall. I’m starting to catch on that the gorilla doesn’t live at the zoo like all the other animals. So cute! Noah (16 months) likes it too, and I’m looking forward to pointing out all this stuff when he’s a bit older.

    September 26th, 2007 | #

  2. Milaka says

    I love that book, too! We don’t own it, but we should. It’s a favorite when we go to the bookstore or to the library. It’s so cute!

    September 28th, 2007 | #

  3. Andrea says

    I completely love this book! Aiden and Madeleine read it before nap and bed!

    October 9th, 2007 | #

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