Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Classic Monday -- Tuesday Edition: Good Night Gorilla

I'm telling you, Bookivore can. not. catch. a. break. We had another snow day yesterday, though this one was an early dismissal because of a completely unexpected blizzard. A BLIZZARD. How do you miss that, Mr. Weatherman? So I had a house full of kids, some mine, some who just wandered in from the bus stop, and once again got nothing done.

I'm moving to San Diego. I hear it's nice there. No blizzards.

Good Night Gorilla, by Peggy Rathman, has been around since the early 1990s and it has become a staple of the under-2 bookshelf. You can even still pick it up at Target, which is as big an indicator of its classic status as anything I can think of.

The story is one with only minimal words. The zookeeper is locking up the zoo for the night, and telling each animal "Good night," as he goes about his duties. The little gorilla, however, has taken his keys and is busily unlocking all the cages.

Eventually, the zookeeper arrives home with a parade of animals in tow. Everyone snuggles down in the zookeeper's bedroom, but once the lights are off Mrs. Zookeeper discovers the stowaways and firmly marches them all back to the zoo where they belong. All except the little gorilla, who slips back into the zookeeper's bedroom and falls asleep between the zookeeper and his wife.

It's a charming little book, beautifully illustrated with Rathman's brilliant paintings. If you're familiar with Rathman (Ruby the Copycat, 10 Minutes 'til Bedtime, Officer Buckle and Gloria) you'll know that her pictures always have more to them than meets the eye: in this book, children can spot the pink balloon that floats away on the first page. It reappears in subsequent pages. Also, on the last page a "family" portrait with Mr. and Mrs. Zookeeper and the little gorilla is finally completely revealed. He is obviously their spoiled darling.

This is an excellent book for pointing out what's happening in the pictures when your child is small and then later having your older child tell back to you what's going on in the story. It comes in a sturdy board book edition and also a larger "lap" edition. Along with other classics like Goodnight Moon or Time for Bed, it makes a great baby gift for new parents.

Pictures courtesy of Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

1 comment:

  1. Wacth the trailer for The Zookeeper at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z75b19HbpL8