Little Beauty PPBF

I am sooooooo excited about the book we found this week!!!

It’s a book by ANTHONY BROWNE!!!!!

Anthony Browne is the King of Gorillas. I have shared other of his books HERE and HERE.

Today’s book is one we found at the school library. It just popped out at me and made me go Whoa!!

IMG_4099Little Beauty. Just look at that cover! Doesn’t it make you say Whoa!!?!

It was published in 2008 by Candlewick Press. (You can never go wrong with Candlewick!)

It is a fiction book about friendship and gorillas and animal communication.

It is suitable for ages 3-7. We read it with some 4th graders and they loved it!

Little Beauty is about a very special gorilla living in a zoo.

It begins – “Once upon a time there was a very special gorilla who had been taught to use a sign language.”

Because he knew sign language he could “talk” to the keepers and ask them for things that he wanted or needed. And he had almost everything he wanted and needed. Except a friend, and he was sad and lonely.

img446Now is that a sad face or what?!

I can do that face too —

Copy of CIMG7898Anyway, the gorilla told the keepers that he wanted a friend. There were no other gorillas at the zoo so they were baffled about what to do.

But finally one of them came up with a great idea. They got the gorilla a kitten named Beauty. The gorilla loved Beauty, and they became BEST friends. They did everything together, and were happy for a long time.

But one day they watched a movie together. King Kong. And the movie upset the gorilla. So much so that he got angry and smashed the TV! The keepers rushed in to see what had happened. They said “Who broke the television?” and ” Now we have to take Beauty away.”  Oh, No! But then Beauty, the kitten, started to sign! She said “It was ME!!!!” This made the keepers laugh and they decided to let Beauty stay and the kitten and the gorilla lived happily ever after.

One reason that I like Mr Browne’s books is because the illustrations are so rich and full of detail. This book is a little different – there are some pictures that are just black and white sketches. Kind of unfinished. That made me stop and think about why he would do that. I’m not sure, but I think it may have something to do with the two characters being happy? Anyway, it kind of caught me off guard and made for an interesting bit to think about.

Now, this story may sound familiar to some of you — I recently did a review of a NON-fiction book about this very friendship. Koko’s Kitten. Koko is a REAL gorilla who uses sign language. And Koko got her very own kitten that she loved. This is one reason that I was so excited about this book, Little Beauty. The two books go together nicely.

For more information about gorillas and gorilla research visit the Gorilla Foundation HERE.

Anthony Browne was the Children’s Laureate from 2009-2011. For more about Mr Browne and for some teacher resources and information about some of his projects visit HERE.

And for more about unusual animal friendships you might check out this book –


Unlikely Friendships, by Jennifer S. Holland. As the cover says, this is a collection of stories and pictures of “Unlikely friendships” between different animal species. Stories and pictures with big AAAHHHH! factor.

I have a couple of videos of Mr Browne talking about this book Little Beauty that you might find interesting –

Now you must visit Susanna Hill’s Blog and see more Perfect Picture Books along with some great resources.

I wish you a Joyful weekend full of friends and good times


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Koko’s Kitten PPBF

IMG_3871I 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!

IMG_3869There 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!!


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