Good Night, Gorilla is almost a "wordless" book that will charm everyone who is young at
heart. It is the type of book that children go back to again and
again as they grow and they discover something new in it each
The zoo theme book introduces children to seven different animals: the
gorilla, a mouse, elephant, lion, giraffe, hyena and armadillo in that
order. They also get to meet the kind zookeeper and the
zookeeper's wife who live just outside the zoo grounds.
Activity 1: "Read" and discuss the book
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Depending on the ages of the children you can adjust how to
"read" this book.
- Ask children to describe what they see in the illustrations
and what is happening.
- What are the names of the animals.
- Who is the man with the flashlight?
- What is his career? Zookeeper.
- What time of day is it, daytime or nighttime?
- Where are the animals going as they get out of their cages?
- Why are two pages all black with surprised eyes?
- Who takes the animals back to the zoo?
- What happens next?
- Who do you think ate the banana, the gorilla or the mouse?
- What items are inside the animals cages?
- Take a look at the houses in the neighborhood as the animals
approach, what do you see? Do the houses seem surprised?
Alternative activities: This book
has endless possibilities for discussion and learning. Time can
be devoted to learning a little about each animal over a period of
Activity 2: Sequence and Vocabulary with Good Night, Gorilla
materials needed: Finger Puppets, Small Stand-up Figures or
LARGE GROUP ACTIVITY: seven or more children
1. Print copies in color or black and white for as many children
as you need (one finger puppet per child) and cut images and
finger/stand holder template. Ideally print on construction paper or
card stock. Only one template has been provided for the finger/stand
holder - this one needs to be traced to make as many as you need from
discarded paper or scraps of construction paper. Print the name
of the animal in the image in your language of choice.
2. Place in a basket or bag and have the children pick one out,
this way it is a surprise who they get to be in the story. Now
they can color the puppet if applicable and they may need help having
the puppet placed in finger and taped or they can be used a small
stand up figures. Alternative: Use the images as stickers,
and make a small mobile or small
3. Read the story a second time. Make an extra copy of the
images to place the pictures in a board or felt board in no particular
4. Game Sequence and Recognizing the Name of the Animal:
After reading the book and discussing ask the children if they
remember the sequence in which the animals got out of the cages.
Tell them you are going to play a game. *Educator will ask:
Who got out of the cage first and the children holding that animal
stand up and the rest of the children say, "Good Night, (name of
the animal)." Obviously the gorilla was first, so all the
children with the gorilla finger puppet need to stand up at that point
and they can gather together in groups, until all
children stand up in seven groups (one for each animal - include the
mouse) and they all say Good Night. As each animal is called the educator
can place the pictures in order in the board or felt board.
5. Dramatic Play: Now that the children are in groups
for each animal, encourage each group to try and make sounds and
gestures the animal might make. You can
discuss to make sure that all children have an idea of what
sounds the animals would make: lion would (roar), hyena (laugh),
etc. Tell them to gesture how would the animals go to sleep.
SMALL GROUP (under seven children):
1. Each child will get a complete set of animals. Print and cut
as many copies as you need.
2. The children can color and assemble as stand up
figures. They will need help placing the tape or glue in the last step
of assembly. Idea: Put a little piece of tape on
the back of the images and tape against small Lego blocks (the 1"
size blocks are perfect).
3. Once all the children have their seven figures ready have them
choose the first animal that got out of the cage and so forth and to
place them in front of them in that order. Another method is to color the image only, and use as stickers on a piece of paper
and encourage the children to place them sequence.
Alternative: Make a small vertical banner or a small mobile.
4. Do step 5 above - Dramatic Play.
SNACK TIME FUN: Recipe: Ants
on a Banana Bus
Banana Snack: One of the most funny things about the book
is how this little mouse drags this banana tied to a string throughout
the story. It is a great excuse to make a fun snack and the author, Peggy
Rathmann has a delightful and easy recipe that children can help
Additional Materials: Alternative Activity or Take Home
Night, Gorilla Activity Card PDF format only (Webbing into
This activity card reinforces sequence and also addresses how the
printed word is read from left to write. The instructions
suggested here are a bit different than the ones printed on the
1. Cut the images and review the story by reading and running
your finger under the text. When you reach the highlighted word,
have the child search for the right image and they can glue it over the word. After all images have been glued
read the text again and have the child "read" the
images. This is an activity that educators and child care
providers can send home for parents to do at home.
Activity 3: Alphabet Lesson Plan Printable Activities > Alphabet letter Z is for Zoo
The book is a zoo theme book. This is also a good opportunity to
address letter Z, what is a zoo and the community helper, the
Alphabet letter G is for Gorilla
and learn about gorillas
and more activities and crafts
Activity 4: Animals of Goodnight Gorilla Coloring Book:
Put together a coloring book of the animals in Goodnight, Gorilla > review links in the materials column.
Good Night, Gorilla
Finger puppets |
stand-up figures or stickers
black and White
Coloring pages for a coloring book with animals in the story:
mouse (various) gorilla 1 or 2
giraffe 1 or 2
Alphabet Printable Activities:
Letter G Gorilla
Letter Z Zoo
Night, Gorilla Activity Card PDF format
*more gorilla crafts *paper, construction paper or card stock
*something to color with