Written and Illustrated by: Anthony Browne

Before Reading

Preview and Predict

Hannah's father is too busy to play with her, but on the night before her birthday she meets a gorilla that takes her on an extraordinary adventure. Take a moment to draw attention to different elements in the cover and illustrations, and make predictions about the story. There are quite a few tips and suggestions throughout this guide, so feel free to spread them out across multiple readings:

What do you notice on the front cover?

Do you think the gorilla and the little girl are friends? Why?

{Read the description on the back of the book} What do you think will happen in this story?


Activate Prior Knowledge

Discuss what you and your child know about gorillas. What is their habitat? What do they like to eat? What do they sound like? Have you or your child ever seen one in real life? If so, where?


As You Read

Build Vocabulary

Encourage your child to stop when s/he gets to a new word in the story. See if s/he can discover its meaning by using the illustrations and words surrounding it. A couple of other new words from Gorilla include:

  3. CREPT


Monitor Comprehension

Consider taking a few moments as you read to clump information and ask about characters' feelings. Ask questions like:

Why do you think the gorillas in the zoo sad?

Hannah's father doesn't spend much time with her. How does she feel about this? 

What do you think will happen next? 


To add a fun seek-and-find element to your reading, encourage your child to try and find all of the gorillas that are present in the background. There are gorillas in portraits, on lamps, and in other places scattered throughout the book. See if you can find them all!

After Reading

Make Connections

Help your child look at the story as a whole once you've completed your read-through by asking/discussing these questions. Work together to write down your answers, or at least write bullet points for each one. This will help strengthen your child's writing skills as well as their comprehension skills.

Did you enjoy that story? What was your favorite part? Why was that your favorite?

What was the story mainly about? 

Why was Hannah disappointed in the beginning of the story? How did that change?

Why was Hannah frightened when she first saw the gorilla?

Why do you think Hannah's dad decided to take her to the zoo the next day?

Where would you have wanted to go if you had met the gorilla?

Extending the Story

Pretend Play Zoo

Source: No Time for Flash Cards

Source: No Time for Flash Cards

Source: No Time for Flash Cards

Set up a zoo in your house! This great activity allows your child to create their own zoo, determining a plan for its layout, organizing animals by species or region, and just having fun! Labeling each sections will help incorporate writing into your activity too! All you need to do is gather all of the animal figures and toys you have in your home, as well as crayons, craft paper, and any blocks that you may have. For tips on how to set up this activity, look here. 


Check This Out

Want to learn more about gorillas and how they interact? The San Diego Zoo has provided some interesting videos and photos about gorillas