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Good Night, Gorilla

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  48,555 ratings  ·  1,167 reviews
A must-have board book for all babies.

Good night, Gorilla.
Good night, Elephant.

It's bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who's that short, furry guy with the key in his hand and the mischievous grin?

Good night, Giraffe.
Good night, Hyena.

Sneak along behind the zookeeper's back, and see who gets the last laugh in this riotous good-night
Board Book, 32 pages
Published February 21st 1996 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (first published 1994)
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Jaden It is a good book for young children, I grew up reading this book and it was always my favorite.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  48,555 ratings  ·  1,167 reviews

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Dec 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: board-books
Well, after reading this book literally every night (and by literally here I mean literally in the old true sense, i.e. every single night) for a year, I will say that GOOD NIGHT, GORILLA holds up. The message of solidarity and collective action in the service of dismantling the zoo-industrial complex is a timeless one (or, rather, a deeply timely one). I find the moment where all the animals, during their occupation of the zookeepers' residence, kindly bid goodnight to their oppressors, to be a ...more
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid
Good Night, Gorilla is the quintessential "first book" for very young children (6 months through to approximately 3 years). It has very few words (only "good," "night," "gorilla," "dear," "zoo" and the names of the five other animals in the book)and is brief.

Even read as merely a story, the book is engaging for a very young child, thanks to the bright colors, silly story line and playful illustrations. Where the book really shines however, is in all that you can do with it. You can start asking

Now, I have a confession to make: I have often seen the book “Good Night, Gorilla” by Peggy Rathmann around many times when I was little and yet, I had never bothered to pick up the book despite the adorable looking cover. It was not until years later (way into my adulthood) that I finally got the chance to pick up this book and I have to say that I cannot believe that I waited this long to pick up this charming little picture book!

The story starts off with a zookeeper saying goodnight to a gori
Apr 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: quinlan
Q LOVES this book! Why? I don't really know. But we must read it over and over. If we start a different book, she'll tolerate that for a bit, but then... she starts pointing to Good Night, Gorilla... "that! that!" It's the first book we read in the morning, and the last book we read before bedtime.

It is an awfully cute board book, and I appreciate the stereotype of the zookeeper's wife as the person who really gets things done. On a side note, how can anyone resist a book with a secondary plot l
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book of very few words, a wily gorilla snatches the keys off the zookeepers belt and releases animals as they are told ‘good night’. Soon, the animals come to join the zookeeper at his house and it is only when Mrs. Zookeeper marches them back to the zoo that they stay put. Well, at least some of them. Neo laughed at this book, but was a little put out that there were few words. I thought it better, as we could create our own story! All in all, he wants to get to the zoo as soon as thing ...more
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Age 1) I loved this book even before Asher did. It has a really cute, funny premise, and almost no text. Asher really enjoyed the part when all the animals say "good night" and I really enjoyed the nice little visual touches (like looking for the balloon float away on each page, the toys in the animal cages, the people in the window watching the animals march across the yard). ...more
May 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-my-boys
This is an excellent early reader book, mainly to teach some basic animal names. The story is adorable and that is not a word I tend to use. I love reading it aloud and so far no one in my house is sick of hearing it. If I am ever looking for a gift for a 1-3 year old, then this book will be at the top of the list.
phil vas
Minimal text and beautifully illustrated. Let your toddler tell you the tale!
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baby-toddler
Wasn't as big a hit as "Goodnight, Moon" but still loved it for the silliness and for watching the gorilla.

Edited: second child loves it, especially pointing out the mouse.
Hmm, I’m a bit torn on this book. Good Night, Gorilla begins with a zookeeper locking up for the night. The problem is the zoo, which is populated by the cell-like iron-barred cages that went out with Victorian menageries. Gorilla, a highly social creature, is caged all alone. And though the zookeeper is a kindly, chummy sort, the parallels between his locking of the cages and a prison warden’s nightly rounds are rather obvious.

If that were the gist of the story, my ratings would definitely be l
Finn Pennekamp
Jan 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Dad and I read this book yesterday, and we both loved it. Dad liked it because it was about a very smart monkey who lets all the animals out of their cages at the zoo. Because, as my Dad says, wild animals should not be kept in zoos. Mom disagrees. But Dad is right. Obviously. Anyway, this gorilla frees all of his friends, and they all sneak back to the zookeeper's house, and sleep in his warm bedroom... until the Zookeeper's wife hears them all say goodnight and leads them back to the cages. Bu ...more
One of the best board books ever. If you know someone who is going to have a baby, please be sure they have a copy of this one. On the basis of this book alone Rathmann should have received a MacArthur grant.


My opinion hasn't gone down at all. On the contrary, it has only gone up. It's still a brilliant book.
Jun 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book, 2011
A friend at work recommended some picture books to me recently; she has a background in speech pathology and gets these books for her own nieces and nephews and the kids of friends, and they've loved them. Most of them I hadn't hear of - I'm not sure about this one, sometimes it seems really familiar to me and other times I don't think I know it at all.

It's told mostly in pictures, the text consisting of, largely, the zookeeper saying good night to the various animals. It's very cute - the goril
Linda Robinson
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
More like viewed. There are few words in this picture book, which works for a 3-year old great-nephews who like to make up stories. On a trip to my favorite indie bookstore for his birthday, I was going to collect favorites I got for his mother when she was little. Owl Babies. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. The indie owner got excited, and asked if he could make a recommendation. It was Good Night, Gorilla. I loved it right there in the store. Charming drawings, a moon on most pages (perhaps a clear c ...more
Westminster Library
A tired zookeeper unwittingly brings a menagerie of animals home much to his chagrin. This wordless book's illustrations provide much fodder for discussion and interpretation and would make an awesome addition to the before bedtime routine.

Find Good Night, Gorilla at the Westminster Public Library!

Rita Webb
Jun 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My kids love this book. Not a whole lot of words, but the pictures tell a story. It gives you lots of opportunity to talk with your kids about what is going on.

"What is that monkey doing?" I'll say. They'll giggle.

I like books that have less words for my younger kids and gives me more opportunity to get them to interact with the story.
Aug 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is just so much fun! I loved the adorable and humorous illustrations (that tell so much of the story) and found myself chuckling by the final page. A great choice for those nights when the little ones need an extra giggle at bedtime.
Jun 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
I didn't think this was all that original, however, my children really seemed to enjoy it. Few words, but an interesting story that's fun to follow, the pictures were a great addition to the plot. I think we'd read it again. ...more
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
5* art
5* story
5* fun

So endearing and cozy and wonderful - a favorite favorite. I hope to be reading this over and over in the next few years.

Alyssa Tabor
Sep 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Low words. Not wordless, but almost. Cute. Good for baby storytime.
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fun illustrations and a funny story make for great bedtime reading. Shortcake loves this one.
Jacob Seger
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Man, I’m definitely falling in love with kids books. Trying to learn to be a little more childlike
Hααlεч ♥
Jul 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, fiction
This book is fun. We read it in spanish and the girls enjoyed it. (Whether they're actually connecting the languages or not). ...more
Joshua Arnett
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This little motherfucker is an absolute rascal.
Feb 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love love love this book!
The illustrations are fabulous! There is so much going on in this simple story.
I think I had read this story at least a thousand time before i realized each key was a different colour, and that they matched the colour of each cage. Ok, so I lied. I never noticed it. It was one of my 2 year olds that pointed that gem out to me😀
My favourite part is when all the animals say goodnight and all you see are eyes in the dark. Perfect.

This is a great book for most ages! I love
Sep 23, 2022 rated it really liked it
Good silly fun in an accessible format.

Mother Tongue Notes: I used this with reluctant speakers and had them take turns narrating the action in each picture. The picture where all the animals say “good night” was a good prompt for lots of different voices. Some students weren’t familiar with hyenas or armadillos.
This is one that - perhaps surprisingly - I had never heard of until we got our copy from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and it is delightful! The sly Gorilla steals the zookeeper's keys, and one by one lets out all the other animals so they can snuggle nice and warm inn the zookeeper's bedroom. The look on Gorilla's face when Mrs. Zookeeper catches him in bed made me burst out laughing! And we loved following the illustrated saga of Mouse and his precious banana through all of the pictures! ...more
3.5 out of 5
The silly playfulness of this picturebook is charming. So are the illustrations:

Read Aloud with Denver Public Library
Tips and Activities:
Have the children say good night to all of the animals
Guess which color key the gorilla will use on each case; The keys match the cage colors
Find all of the toys in the animals’ cages
Follow the mouse throughout the book

Questions to Ask
Where do you think the animals are going?
How do you think the zookeeper’s wife feels about the animals in her house?
Would the animals fit in your house?
Feb 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cute book about a zookeeper who says goodnight to all the animals in the zoo, but a sneaky gorilla has stolen his keys, follows him, and releases all the animals. All of the animals follow him home and trail him to bed. His wife wakes up to discover all the animals and takes them back to their cages.
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Goodnight Gorilla Written by Peggy Rathmann (text-to-self) (Text to text) 1 2 Jan 30, 2019 06:29PM  
MCC Children's Li...: Picture Book #2 1 1 Feb 15, 2012 05:50PM  

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Caldecott-medalist Margaret Crosby "Peggy" Rathmann was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and grew up in the suburbs with two brothers and two sisters. 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. She currently lives and works in Nicas ...more

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