Good Night, Gorilla

From the Peggy Rathmann, author of Ruby The Copycat, comes another surefire hit in Good Night, Gorilla. With only ten different words and most of the story told in the pictures, this bedtime book will produce an experience that is equal parts yawns and laughter.

good night, gorilla by peggy rathmann

What Happens in Good Night, Gorilla?

“Goodnight, Gorilla” says a weary zookeeper as he heads home for the night. In response, the gorilla snags the keys from the zookeepers back pocket and quietly lets himself out. “Goodnight giraffe, goodnight hyena” the tired man says. Unbeknownst to him, the gorilla is secretly busting out all of the animals as he passes them. Before long, the zookeeper has a whole train of exotic animals padding along behind him as he leaves the zoo, crosses a plush green lawn, and enters his house. Up the stairs, into the bedroom, into bed with Mrs. Zookeeper he goes, turning off the light to a mumbled ‘goodnight dear’ from her. “Goodnight” reply seven different voices in the dark. A wide eyed missus than sits bolt upright and has to deal with the mischievous menagerie that has cuddled up in her bedroom.

good night, gorilla

The Illustrations

The pictures tell the story. The only words uttered this book are “goodnight” followed by the name of an animal or the word ‘dear.’ In my mind, this sets it up to be particularly humorous. I love when it’s the unsaid things that are telling the joke. In this sense the book is very well suited to preschoolers and youngsters who rely more on visual aids then words/reading to understand a story.

While lacking what some deem the artistic ‘ingenuity’ of her other books, I think Peggy Rathmann has put together a series of illustrations that make up a superb bedtime book. They’re colorful, with the animals drawn in an adorable rotund manner, and simple. I find them very fun to look at and I happen to love the simplicity.

The little details too add a wonderful touch. Look for the mouse faithfully toting around a banana from page to page and a pink balloon that bobs about in the background. Children will have no trouble identifying the animals either, in the giraffe’s cage, there’s a toy giraffe on wheels, in the elephants, a stuffed Barbar, and so on.

peggy rathmann

Our Overall Feelings

I think this is a perfectly lovely bedtime book. It’s one that will make you chuckle (and what isn’t good about laughing before bedtime?) and the pictures/story are well done and engaging, so it will hold your little ones attention from start to finish. As the animals sneak out of their ‘rooms’ (cages), children will be able to relate to the feeling of not wanting to stay in their own rooms all night, and the desire to crawl into bed with their parents. Parent’s too will be able to relate to the feeling of the exhausted Mrs. Zookeeper as she leads the line of animals back to bed, only to be followed again by the mischievous little gorilla.

What did you think of Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann?

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