Good night, Gorilla.
Good night, Elephant.
It''s bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep.
Or are they? Who''s that short, furry guy with the key in his hand
and the mischievous grin?
Good night, Giraffe.
Good night, Hyena.
Sneak along behind the zookeeper''s back, and see who gets the
last laugh in this riotous good-night romp.
Caldecott-medalist Peggy Rathmann was born in
St. Paul, Minnesota, and grew up in the suburbs with two brothers
and two sisters. "In the summer we lolled in plastic wading pools
guzzling Kool-Aid. In the winter we sculpted giant snow animals. It
was a good life." Ms. Rathmann graduated from Mounds View High
School in New Brighton, Minnesota, then attended colleges
everywhere, changing her major repeatedly. She eventually earned a
B.A. in psychology from the University of Minnesota. "I wanted to
teach sign language to gorillas, but after taking a class in
signing, I realized what I'd rather do was draw pictures of
gorillas". Ms. Rathmann studied commercial art at the American
Academy in Chicago, fine art at the Atelier Lack in Minneapolis,
and children's-book writing and illustration at the Otis Parsons
School of Design in Los Angeles. "I spent the first three weeks of
my writing class at Otis Parsons filching characters from my
classmates' stories. Finally, the teacher convinced me that even a
beginning writer can create an original character if the character
is driven by the writer's most secret weirdness. Eureka! A little
girl with a passion for plagiarism! I didn't want anyone to know it
was me, so I made the character look like my sister." The resulting
book, Ruby the Copycat, earned Ms. Rathmann the "Most
Promising New Author" distinction in Publishers Weekly's 1991
annual Cuffie Awards. In 1992 she illustrated Bootsie Barker
Bites for Barbara Bottner, her teacher at Otis Parsons. A
homework assignment produced an almost wordless story, Good
Night, Gorilla, inspired by a childhood memory. "When I was
little, the highlight of the summer was running barefoot through
the grass, in the dark, screaming. We played kick-the-can, and
three-times-around-the-house, and sometimes we just stood staring
into other people's picture windows, wondering what it would be
like to go home to someone else's house." That story, however, was
only nineteen pages long, and everyone agreed that the ending was a
dud. Two years and ten endings later, Good Night, Gorilla
was published and recognized as an ALA Notable Children's Book for
1994. The recipient of the 1996 Caldecott Medal, Officer Buckle
and Gloria, is the story of a school safety officer upstaged
by his canine partner. "We have a videotape of my mother chatting
in the dining room while, unnoticed by her or the cameraman, the
dog is licking every poached egg on the buffet. The next scene
shows the whole family at the breakfast table, complimenting my
mother on the delicious poached eggs. The dog, of course, is
pretending not to know what a poached egg is. The first time we
watched that tape we were so shocked, we couldn't stop laughing. I
suspect that videotape had a big influence on my choice of subject
matter." Ms. Rathmann lives and works in San Francisco, in an
apartment she shares with her husband, John Wick, and a very funny
bunch of ants.
At bedtime, the little gorilla cleverly grabs the zookeeper's keys and frees a parade of animals to follow the keeper home to bed. The zookeeper's wife returns them all--or does she? "Destined to become a bedtime favorite."--"The Boston Globe." Full color. (Baby-Preschool)