Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman


When it comes to favorite, classic books we often need look no further than those that were read to us as children, or that we find reading to our own children (over and over and over again).

As a librarian, I have had extensive experience performing story time to kids of all ages. Now thatgoodnightgorilla I am a new parent to a sweet baby boy, I find myself thinking back to stories that I loved telling in baby and toddler story time. (I feel obligated to launch into a list of reasons why you should read to babies and the literacy principles behind a child wanting to hear the same story over and over again. However, I’ll spare you the details. Just read to every kid you know and I’ll let you off the hook.)

One of the stories that I loved telling in story time or sharing one-on-one with my young nieces and nephews is Good Night, Gorilla. This nearly wordless picture book (also available as a board book) follows a zookeeper through his nightly ritual of saying good night to the zoo animals. Savvy readers with notice that the gorilla has pilfered keys from the zookeeper aGoodnight-Gorilla-imagend is releasing all the animals. You’ll never guess where they end up in the adorable tale that makes for great reading night after night. Children can help tell the story as well as find a lot of hidden treasures within the illustration. (Again, a lot of great literacy skill building here!).

Love for a favorite childhood book is a product of an enjoyable bookIMG_2964 and the positive emotional experience of reading it with someone special in your life. I have several favorites that I can’t wait to read with my baby boy (and have already started). However, as a waiting adoptive parent, I was hesitant to purchase too many books ahead of time. People have been so generous in giving us a fabulous selection of great books. But I could always use more ideas!

What are your favorite stories from when you were you or that you read with a young one in your life?




5 Responses

  1. I will confess, when Zoe was an infant, I read my romance novels aloud to her sometimes. I mean, baby books, too, but if I wanted to read and she wanted my attention, then why not? Right? Right, children’s librarian who knows all about literacy, that’s totes legit? Right?

    Anyway, one book I loved from my childhood that I like sharing with Zoe is Jack Kent’s There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon. It’s about a dragon that just keeps growing and growing because no one will acknowledge that it exists. It’s probably not baby-suitable, but, like I said above, I kind of just decided that everything was baby suitable if I liked to read it.

  2. We love Good Night, Gorilla, too! Another thematically-related choice is Little Gorilla by Ruth Lercher Bornstein.

    Other favorites from my kids’ infant/toddler years:
    Where’s Spot by Eric Hill
    Jane Yolen’s Owl Babies
    Where is Baby’s Belly Button by Karen Katz
    Sandra Boynton’s Snuggle Puppy and The Belly Button Book
    The Little Mouse, the Red, Ripe Strawberry, and the Big, Hungry Bear (Wood)
    Have You Seen My Duckling (Tafuri)
    “More, More, More,” Said the Baby (Williams)
    All the World (Scanlon/Frazee)
    The Relatives Came (Rylant)

  3. For my kids as infants, we loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar. They still love it actually and I find it hilarious when they recite all the foods (and sometimes get them wrong. They call the sausage a hot dog, for instance). We also went through many, many, many, MANY re-readings (STILL re-reading) Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

    We loved anything by Sandra Boynton, especially Moo Baa, La La La, Barnyard Dance, and Snuggle Puppy. We read Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney a lot too.

    Have you read Love You Forever? I admit to being a bad parent here. I cannot make it through that book without sobbing my eyes out. Every. Single. Time. So now when the kids bring it to me I make up the words. It’s the only way I survive.

    They loved classics like Pat the Bunny too.

  4. We also really like The Very Hungry Vaterpillar. Owen has it memorized and gets a huge kick out of “reading”it to us or Liam. Other favorites are goodnight moon, beautiful baby (different animals to pet and a mirror at the end to look at), anything Sandra Boynton, and those by Leslie patricelli. Please note the time at which this is posted and excuse the typos and poor capitalization 🙂

  5. First, I LOVE the picture of you reading to your adorable little one 🙂 And I too read to my boys from an early age. We covered the classics: Good Night Moon, The Runaway Bunny (and I wonder why my youngest is already showing anarchist tendencies :)), Eric Carle’s collection, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Click Clack Moo Cows That Type and the other two books in that series about that cheeky Duck, plus many more. My boys loved Good Night Gorilla too.

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