WHEN GORILLA GOES WALKING by Nikki Grimes
Grimes, Nikki. 2007. WHEN GORILLA GOES WALKING. Ill. Shane Evans. New York, NY: Orchard. ISBN: 0439317703
2. PLOT SUMMARY
Gorilla is a tailless, mischievous, affectionate, curious, playful, and sometimes jealous cat. Told through the eyes of her owner, a young girl named Cecilia, you will discover all sorts of ways a girl can have fun with her pet cat. Follow Cecilia and Gorilla as they go for walks, play games, and learn how to be the best of friends.
3. CRITICAL ANALYSIS
Gorilla is your everyday cat. She makes a mess, gets fussy, has trouble learning the rules, and has her own unique personality. When Gorilla Goes Walking is a fun and colorful poetry picture book that will appeal to young children who love animals, especially cats! Through the use of haiku and rhyming couplets, Grimes expresses how Gorilla and Cecilia get through their everyday ups and downs. Grimes shows that Gorilla has very feline characteristics: “She hisses when/ a stranger’s near./She chases doges./She has no fear.” But Gorilla is not all claws and has a softer side as well: “I lay down sick this afternoon./Gorilla knew and came./She hopped up on the bed with me,/meowing out my name.” This poetry picture book is well organized and the illustrations complement the poems throughout the book. The vocabulary is perfect for children from ages 4-8, but can be appreciated by older children. Evan’s use of bold colors and playful cat expressions give Gorilla a distinctive personality. The eye-catching illustrations provide the perfect backdrop to all of Gorilla’s everyday antics and show the loving relationship between a young girl and her pet cat.
4. REVIEW EXCERPT(S)
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: “This book is an excellent choice for cat lovers, budding poetry enthusiasts, and just about any reader who enjoys a fun-filled romp with words.”
BOOKLIST starred review: “A fill-the-page portrait of dreadlocked, brown Cecelia, arm and arm with a blue-eyed, white best friend opens this playful, insightful poetry collection (classified as fiction) with an image of open-hearted friendship.”
* This book is great to share with younger children to share, introduce, or teach poetry through colorful picture books.
*Collect other poetry books written by Nikki Grimes: A POCKETFUL OF POEMS, COME SUNDAY, C IS FOR CITY, MEET DANITRA BROWN, SHOE MAGIC, WHEN DADDY PRAYS, and OH, BROTHER!
*Other poetry books about pets:
Crawley, Dave. DOG POEMS. Ill. Tamara Petrosino. ISBN: 1590784545
George, Kristine O’Connell. LITTLE DOG POEMS. Ill. June Otani. ISBN: 0395822661
Livingston, Myra Cohen and Trina Schart Hyman. CAT POEMS. ISBN: 0823406318