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Good Night, Gorilla Board book – February 21, 1996

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Good Night, Gorilla + Goodnight Moon + The Very Hungry Caterpillar
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 1 - 3 years
  • Board book: 34 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; Brdbk edition (February 21, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399230033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399230035
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (475 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

"Good night, Gorilla," says the weary watchman as he walks by the gorilla cage on his nightly rounds at the zoo. The gorilla answers by quietly pickpocketing the guard's keys, stealthily trailing him, and unlocking the cages of every animal the oblivious fellow bids goodnight to. Looking much like an exhausted father, the uniformed guard traipses home toward his cottage, while the lonely zoo animals softly parade behind him. The animals manage to slip into his bedroom and nestle unnoticed near his sleepy wife--until the bold little gorilla goes so far as to snuggle up beside her as she turns out the light. Author and illustrator Peggy Rathmann (creator of the Caldecott-winning Officer Buckle and Gloria) relies more on the nuances of her jewel-toned pictures than on words to pace this giggly bedtime story, making it perfect for observant preschoolers. In one inky-black spread, Rathmann lets only the shocked, wide-open eyes of the guard's wife tell us that the gorilla has been detected! Tiny details such as the faithful, banana-toting mouse and sky-bound pink balloon that appear in each picture keep this book fresh, magical, and fun--even after countless bedtime readings. (Baby to preschool) --Gail Hudson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Universally understandable subject matter and a narrative conveyed almost entirely through pictures mark this as an ideal title for beginners. A zookeeper makes his nightly rounds, bidding good night to a gorilla, a lion, a giraffe and so on. He doesn't know that the gorilla has procured his keys and is unlocking each animal's cage; a jungly crowd files quietly behind the keeper as he walks home and crawls into bed. When his wife says, "Good night, dear," seven voices reply, "Good night," and it's up to the missus to return the mischievous menagerie. Although Rathmann's illustrations lack the artistic ingenuity she displayed in Ruby the Copycat and Bootsie Barker Bites , the author/artist connects with her audience on several levels. Children can identify with the animals, who have toys in their cages (the elephant has a plush Babar) and resist being left alone in their "rooms" all night; they will also enjoy some minor subplots. Some details prove questionable (for example, one overdrawn visage of Mrs. Zookeeper seems blurry, particularly because she's rendered with a few simple lines elsewhere), yet these considerations take a back seat to Rathmann's comic exuberance. Ages 3-6.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

"Caldecott-medalist Peggy Rathmann was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and grew up in the suburbs with two brothers and two sisters.
""In the summer we lolled in plastic wading pools guzzling Kool-Aid. In the winter we sculpted giant snow animals. It was a good life.""
Ms. Rathmann graduated from Mounds View High School in New Brighton, Minnesota, then attended colleges everywhere, changing her major repeatedly. She eventually earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Minnesota.
""I wanted to teach sign language to gorillas, but after taking a class in signing, I realized what I'd rather do was draw pictures of gorillas.""
Ms. Rathmann studied commercial art at the American Academy in Chicago, fine art at the Atelier Lack in Minneapolis, and children's-book writing and illustration at the Otis Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles.
""I spent the first three weeks of my writing class at Otis Parsons filching characters from my classmates' stories. Finally, the teacher convinced me that even a beginning writer can create an original character if the character is driven by the writer's most secret weirdness. Eureka! A little girl with a passion for plagiarism! I didn't want anyone to know it was me, so I made the character look like my sister.""
The resulting book, Ruby the Copycat, earned Ms. Rathmann the ""Most Promising New Author"" distinction in Publishers Weekly's 1991 annual Cuffie Awards. In 1992 she illustrated Bootsie Barker Bites for Barbara Bottner, her teacher at Otis Parsons.
A homework assignment produced an almost wordless story, Good Night, Gorilla, inspired by a childhood memory.
""When I was little, the highlight of the summer was running barefoot through the grass, in the dark, screaming. We played kick-the-can, and three-times-around-the-house, and sometimes we just stood staring into other people's picture windows, wondering what it would be like to go home to someone else's house.""
That story, however, was only nineteen pages long, and everyone agreed that the ending was a dud. Two years and ten endings later, Good Night, Gorilla was published and recognized as an ALA Notable Children's Book for 1994.
The recipient of the 1996 Caldecott Medal, Officer Buckle and Gloria, is the story of a school safety officer upstaged by his canine partner.
""We have a videotape of my mother chatting in the dining room while, unnoticed by her or the cameraman, the dog is licking every poached egg on the buffet. The next scene shows the whole family at the breakfast table, complimenting my mother on the delicious poached eggs. The dog, of course, is pretending not to know what a poached egg is. The first time we watched that tape we were so shocked, we couldn't stop laughing. I suspect that videotape had a big influence on my choice of subject matter.""
Ms. Rathmann lives and works in San Francisco, in an apartment she shares with her husband, John Wick, and a very funny bunch of ants.

Customer Reviews

This book is one of my new bedtime favorites!
I like this book because it has very little text and the reader can make their own story to go along with the pictures.
Amy Wood
Very cute illustrations, and a sweet, funny story.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

102 of 106 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 17, 2000
Format: Board book
This book was read at a mixed-age party and I'm sure that the adults laughed as much as the children! It has quickly become a classic, featuring the cleverly pictured sneaky antics of a renegade gorilla.
Our young hero steals the keys from a zookeeper and frees all the animals, who follow the keeper home at night. Hilarious "lights out" confusion ensues with a comical surprise ending!
34 pages, with only ten different words, the expressive, colorful pictures say it all. This playful book is appropriate for infants, toddlers, and the beginning reader as well. A delightful romp, and a surefire hit! One of those few treasured books that you'll keep for years to come.
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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Jim Carson on August 19, 2000
Format: Board book
The story's in the pictures: a mischievious gorilla borrows the zoo keeper's keys and as the zookeeper is completing his rounds, the gorilla lets the animals out. The gorilla, with all of the animals following him, ends up in the zookeeper's bedroom.
The pictures are terrific, with a lot going on in the background. There's a little mouse toting the gorilla's banana, each animal's cage has a toy, and, of course, the zookeeper's wife's surprise and familiarity with the animals following him home.
My daughter's definitely picked up some rather complex animal names (e.g., giraffe, armadillo) and picked up on the gorilla's shenanigans pretty quickly.
Very fun book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 27, 2002
Format: Board book
If you look at the title "Good Night, Gorilla" and immediately think of the classic "Good Night, Moon," you are not alone. But whereas the latter is about a little rabbit who is putting off going to sleep by saying "Good Night" to everything in the room, this little treat written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann is about a zookeeper who WANTS to go to sleep and is saying "Good Night" to all of the animals in the zoo. What the weary zookeeper does not know, is that the gorilla has grabbed his keys and there is a growing menagerie following him home to his wife.
"Good Night, Gorilla," is simply a charming little tale, where the drawings communicate much more than the dialogue. I want to think of the art as being a cross between watercolors and pastels, but then what do I know about art? What I love best is to find the mouse with the banana on the string in each picture, and I bet your children will love that too when they discover it on their own.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sharmin Panjvani on December 14, 2006
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
I used to read this to my preschoolers by request - it was a permanent fixture in our library and I was not allowed to swap it out for new books! My kids would look for it if I took it away and I would have to bring it back. The Gorilla lets out all the animals in the zoo and follows the zoo keeper home! Mrs zoo keeper is not amused with her roomful of animals and Mr. zoo keeper has to return all the animals to their cages.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By DAYE on August 18, 2001
Format: Board book
This is by far my favorite and my 21 month old daughter's favorite. The illustrations are amazing in their detail. I've been reading it to my daughter since she was about 8 months old, and I'm still finding fun "treasures" in the pictures - such as the people appearing in the window of the neighbor's house, the photo on the bedside table. There are so many others, but I don't want to give it away as the fun is in discovering. There is so much to this book with few words - my daughter gets different things out of it at different stages of her development. As an infant she liked the rhythmic "Goodnight Gorilla...Goodnight...Elephant, etc." and the bright colors. As she started learning animals, she loved pointing out the zoo animals. Later she was enthralled by finding the banana on every page. Lately she has been interested inthe different items in each of their cages. She was so excited the evening she realized the doll in the armadillo's cage was "Baby Ernie!". You won't be disappointed.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Rowell on December 2, 1999
Format: Board book
My son and I loved this book when he was young and he still loves to look at it when he thinks I'm not looking (he's now 10). Actually, he was the one who brought so many of the details in this charming book to my attention. Notice the color of the keys and the color of the cage bars, the banana, the toys in the animals cages and, our favorite, the balloon. I always give this book to young nieces, nephews and friends.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 1999
Format: Board book Verified Purchase
My sister sent this book when my son was only a month old, and he has been read the book almost every day in the subsequent 15 months. With very few words, but the most expressive illustrations, this book tells the story of a naughty gorilla who frees all of the animals in the zoo and leads them into the zookeeper's house and bedroom.
Simple as it is, the book provides lots to talk about--the names of the animals as they join the line to the zookeeper's house, the little mouse with the banana, the toys in the animals' cages, the surprise of the zookeeper's wife when she realizes the animals have bunked down in her bedroom. (You almost get the feeling this is not the first time this has happened.) The little touches are wonderful, my favorite being the peeled and eaten banana at the end, after the little mouse totes it around throughout the book.
This is my favorite book of my son's and I believe he understands the humor of it. He's now climbing the stairs and I can get him up to his room by promising we'll read "Goodnight, Gorilla."
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