Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann, this book has won multiple awards including ALA Notable Children's Book for 1994, Bulletin Blue Ribbon 1994 and Horn Book Fanfare 1995 selection. Almost wordless, the story is told through the rich illustrations. An unobservant zookeeper is doing his nightly rounds when a cheeky gorilla steals his keys and lets the animals out. The animals all follow him home and the zookeeper's wife sorts everything out.

I asked Terri to buy a copy for us from overseas and since we received it, we have read it over and over again. The book is available locally but I was not in a hurry because I was afraid that it might be another "Goodnight Moon" and, at that time, I was not enamoured with Goodnight Moon (I've since become a firm fan). Comparing the two, they are both fantastic books, the difference is that Goodnight Moon is more sedate and quiet, while Good Night Gorilla takes you on a hilarious escapade.

When I first read the book with Ryan, Ryan would call out the names of the animals that he knew best - the gorilla (Ryan calls it the "gowawa"), the mouse, the elephant, the giraffe and the lion. After Richard started reading the book with him, they started a game of "Spot the banana" in each scene. This came about because Richard was so tickled at Ryan saying "nana!" so he kept pointing out the banana so that Ryan would say "nana!" over and over again. Now that Ryan is getting on with his speech and vocabulary, Richard points to each of the seven animals (including the hyena and the armadillo) and Ryan dutifully identifies each one in each scene.

This one's a keeper, for sure.


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