by Nikki Grimes
illustrated by Shane Evans

For Cat Lovers everywhere. meow. meow.
Grimes, Nikki. 2007. When Gorilla Goes Walking. Orchard Books.

Introduction: Show students the cover art of the book. Ask them to tell you what they think the story is going to be about. Ask about the title. Who is Gorilla? After some discussion, share the author's name and illustrator's name with students and ask them to tell you what each person is responsible for. Share that Nikki Grimes is the author of many other books in our library. (Have those displayed nearby.)
Critical Analysis: The cover art of this delightful book invites the reader to peek inside. This is the story of Gorilla, the cat, told through a series of rhyming poems. Cat owners will relate to each story of Gorilla, and pet owners everywhere will reminisce about a favorite pet. The story is filled with colorful artwork that will leave an impression on the reader, no doubt.
This book is very different from many of Nikki Grimes' books that mostly reflect her background as an African American poet.
Extension: After reading the story, ask children if they had a favorite Gorilla poem. Invite children to write their own poem about a pet or animal they like. Have students illustrate their poems, and make into a class book.
Review Excerpt: School Library Journal (May 2007)
This book is excellent for cat lovers, budding poetry enthusiasts, and just about any reader who enjoys a fun-filled romp with words.


A fierce meow,
a tiger's claws -
Gorilla ain't no
Santa Paws.

She hisses when
a stranger's near.
She chases dogs.
She has no fear.

She has no tail.
She's rain-cloud gray.
I love that cool cat
more and more
each day.

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