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Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

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Ask the child questions after the second and third readings of Good Night, Gorilla, to start a conversation about the book. You can prompt the child on every page, using the questions below. If the child says something spontaneously about a picture, expand on it and ask the child to repeat it. There are questions for every one or two pages of the story.

  1. What is happening in this picture? (The gorilla is taking the zookeeper's keys out of his pocket.)
  2. Who is this? What is he doing? (This is the little gorilla, and he is climbing out of his cage.)
  3. Who does the zookeeper say "good night" to here? (He says "good night" to the elephant.)
  4. What is happening here? (The gorilla opens the lion's cage.)
  5. What animals are outside the lion's cage? (The gorilla, the elephant, and the mouse are outside the cage.)
  6. What is happening in this picture? (The gorilla is letting the giraffe out of his cage.)
  7. What animals do you see? (a gorilla, a mouse, an elephant, a lion, a hyena, and a giraffe)
  8. Who is the zookeeper saying "good night" to? (He says "good night" to the armadillo.)
  9. Where is the armadillo?
  10. Where is everybody going? (to the zookeeper's house)
  11. Let's count the animals together. (There are seven animals.)
  12. Where are the animals in this picture? (They are inside the zookeeper's house.)
  13. What are the animals getting ready to do? (They are getting ready to go to sleep.)
  14. Where is the mouse? (in the drawer with the banana)
  15. Who says "good night" to the zookeeper's wife? (All the animals say "good night.")
  16. Whose eyes are these? (These are the eyes of the zookeepers wife.)
  17. Who is in bed with the zookeeper's wife? (The zookeeper and the gorilla are in bed with her.)
  18. Is this where the gorilla is supposed to sleep? (No, he is supposed to sleep at the zoo.)
  19. What is happening here? (The zookeeper's wife takes all the animals back to the zoo.)
  20. What is happening here? (The gorilla and the mouse follow the zookeeper's wife back to her house.)
  21. What is the gorilla doing? (He is climbing back into the bed.)
  22. What is happening in this picture? (The gorilla, the zookeeper, and the zookeeper's wife are asleep. The mouse says "good night" to the gorilla.)


The words listed below came from the story and its pictures. As you page through the book, point to the pictures and ask the child to name the object or the action shown. This will help the child learn new words. You can use the words below or you can choose words you think will interest your child. Below are words for every one or two pages of the story.

  • gorilla, zookeeper, mouse, bananas, balloon, bike, cage, keys
  • climbing out, flashlight, moon, nighttime
  • elephant, ball, toy
  • lion, bone, unlocking
  • hyena, giraffe
  • armadillo, baby bottle, pacifier, doll
  • gate, house
  • front door, bedroom door, pictures
  • bed, yawning, sleeping
  • drawer, pillow, blanket
  • dark
  • eyes
  • surprised, grinning
  • going back, slippers
  • tiptoeing
  • rear end, tail
  • sleeping, banana peel

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Excerpted from Read Together, Talk Together, the Pearson Early Childhood research-based program that makes reading aloud even more effective!

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