I have a thing for gorillas. I have my very own that kept me safe when I was a wee pup. Gorillas are special creatures that are endangered. That means that they are in danger of becoming extinct. That would be a bad thing for the world.
There is a very famous gorilla named Koko. You may have heard of her. She was born at the San Francisco Zoo in 1971 and in 1972 Ms Francine Patterson, who was working on a graduate school project, became interested in studying the language abilities of animals. She was allowed to use Koko as her subject.
Dr. Patterson taught Koko American Sign Language and claims that Koko can now communicate using over 1000 words and phrases. (Very much like Chaser the dog!) Koko and Dr. Patterson are still together, working and learning and teaching the world about gorillas.
KoKo’s Kitten is a book about Koko and her 1st pet.
It is a non-fiction story written by Dr. Francine Patterson and has photographs by Ronald H. Cohn
It was published in 1985 by Scholastic.
Theme — gorillas, endangered animals, animal communication, pets
There are a lot of words in this book so it is best for older kids – 2nd grade and up. But with some adjustments in storytelling, younger kids like this book a lot. The pictures are everything!
There is a preface that gives some history to Koko’s story and the story itself begins with Koko’s birthday. “Koko knows what birthdays are. When asked what she does on her birthday, Koko answered, ‘Eat, drink, old.”
For this birthday, (the story does not say which birthday) Koko wanted a cat. Dr Patterson decided to get her a toy cat, but the one she chose didn’t come in time for the birthday so Koko received it at Christmas. But Koko did not want a toy cat. She wanted a real cat and was very angry about the toy one.
Some months later, some abandoned kittens were brought in and Koko got to choose which kitten she wanted for a pet. She chose one without a tail and named it All Ball. Koko loved her kitten and was very gentle with it. She treated it like a baby.
You will have to read the book to find out the rest of the story. It is a fascinating one.
To find out more about Koko and gorillas in general visit the Gorilla Foundation. Kids can even communicate with Koko!
And for more Perfect Picture Books and resources visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.
Here is a video of Koko with some new kitties –
Learn about gorillas, see what you can do to help gorillas, spread the word. And make a new friend today!
Joy to you!!