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Good Night, Gorilla Board book – February 21, 1996

4.8 out of 5 stars 3,912 ratings

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$4.99 $1.27

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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.

From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews


"In a book economical in text and simple in illustrations, the many amusing, small details, as well as the tranquil tome of the story, make this an outstanding picture book." --The Horn Book, starred review

“The amiable cartoon characters, vibrant palette, and affectionate tone of the author’s art recall Thatcher Hurd’s cheerful illustrations. Delightful.”--Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"A clever, comforting bedtime story." --School Library Journal, starred review

"Jaunty four-color artwork carries the story and offers more with every look." --Booklist

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.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers; Brdbk edition (February 21, 1996)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Board book ‏ : ‎ 32 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0399230033
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0399230035
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 1 - 3 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ BR50L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5 x 0.87 x 6.56 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 3,912 ratings

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
3,912 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on March 14, 2019
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3.0 out of 5 stars Half picture book, Half story
By Dee on March 14, 2019
I needed a break from Goodnight Moon (the only book my 15 month old will listen to uninterrupted, so I went in search of other Goodnight books and stumbled upon this one. Given the reviews, I decided to give it a whirl. It's not a hit in our home.

The story is simple, will only a few words per page, which should be a plus, but there are several pages with no text - only pictures. I think some kids might enjoy this, but for some reason, mine doesn't. There are 3 double sided pages toward the middle of the book with only pictures and 3 more at the end. The pictures advance the story, but my 15 month old doesn't really get it. I try to make up things and point out what's in the pictures, but she inevitably loses interest. This might be good for a slightly younger child that just wants to look at the pictures or a slightly older child that can tell that the pictures are advancing the story without words.

I did purchase the board book version and as one reviewer noted, a lot of the pictures are cut off. I decided that mattered less than durability at this point as my little one likes to "read" on her own and often destroys books with paper pages.

The illustrations are lovely and the colors are nice and vibrant, I also think it's a cute story, I just wish there was more to it.
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11 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on September 22, 2017
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19 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2015
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63 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on November 15, 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Vibrant and Detailed Board Book!
By Amazon Customer on November 15, 2019
This book is great! It is vibrant and detailed. It would be great for all young children. Several of the pages do not have words but the story tells itself. You can look for different animals, the banana on each page (for younger kids), and the balloon on each page (for older kids). Great words to teach are keys, open, uh oh, eek, night night, banana, balloon. My favorite detail is the increasing number of spectators in a window each time they pass the "courtyard" area. I really love this book and so does my one year old. This book would be great for small babies with all the colors, older babies who don't sit long, and older kids who love a funny story!
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4 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on October 24, 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Cheaply made, not worth $20
By Lindsay Finney on October 24, 2020
Goodnight Gorilla is my two year old son’s favorite book so we thought we’d get him this as something special. It turns out it’s nothing special. He has had 3 other copies of this book. One from Dolly Parton’s imagination library, a board book, and a larger hardcover book. I thought spending almost $20 we’d be getting a book that was close to the size of the larger book. This gift set came with a book smaller than the Dolly Parton imagination library and is very cheaply made. My son has only had it a week and the pages are already separating from the binding and tearing. I know he’s a two year old but he is very careful with his books. The pages in this book are pretty close to the durability of a cheap wrapping paper from Walmart. The gorilla stuffed animal is extremely small which would have been fine if the gift set had actually come with a nicer book. I’m extremely disappointed to have spent almost $20 on this cheaply made product.
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2 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2016
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8 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

K. J. Noyes
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost wordless but hilarious comedy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 13, 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars a unique and wonderful book for early development
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 15, 2016
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Caroline Bean
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Night Gorilla
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 17, 2010
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2 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars The illustrations are beautiful and with a LOT OF detail
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 21, 2015
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One person found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book without words
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 28, 2013
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