Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein

            Everybody loves little gorilla, a baby in the jungle.  When he has his first birthday he discovers that he is no longer a little gorilla, but he is still loved.


  • Picture of a real gorilla from a book or magazine.
  • How to draw a gorilla directions
  • 2 Washcloths and towels
  • crepe paper
  • wrapping paper, foil, or newsprint (to use for wrapping)
  • several shoe boxes or blocks (to use for wrapping)
  • Large banana cards for measuring
  • 1/2 Banana per child, cereal (i.e. Cheerios), and small baggie per child.


  • Gorilla (a cousin to the monkey. Gorillas grow really, really big)

Introducing the Story

            Begin a discussion about babies.  What kinds of things can babies do? What kinds of things can babies not do? Show the children the picture of a gorilla and the cover of the book, Little Gorilla. Ask if they know what kind of animal this is?  Tell the children that all animals, just like people start off as babies and that they grow up to be big and strong.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and respect for their bodies and the environment.

Reading the story

            Emphasize the word grow as you read.  When you get to the page where the animals sing Happy Birthday to Little Gorilla, stop and let the children sing along.

After Reading the story

            Ask the children what their family and friends do to make them feel loved?

Social & Emotional Development/Social Relationships; progresses in responding sympathetically to peers who are in need, upset, hurt, or angry; and in expressing empathy aor caring for others.

Music and Movement

Teach the poem, When I Was One Years Old. Have the children scrunch down low and as you say the poem they grow taller and taller until they are reaching towards the ceiling.

                                    When I was one years old,                       

                                    I was very,very small

                                    But now I’m 3 years old

                                    And I’ve grown up big and tall!    


Language Development/Listening & Understanding; demonstrates increasing ability to attend to and understands conversations, stories, songs, and poems.


            Put out books/pictures of animal babies and mothers.  Encourage the children to tell how they look alike and different.

Science/Scientific Skills & Methods; develops increased ability to observe and discuss common properties, differences ,and comparisons among objects and materials.

Make banana pops with the children. (Give each child a half of a banana and a small baggie of cereal).  Have the children crush the cereal and then cut the banana into three pieces and put the banana pieces into the baggie.  Shake it up and then take it out to eat.

Language Development/Listening & Understanding; shows progress in understanding and following simple and multiple-step directions.


            Add animals to blocks.  Ask the children if they can arrange the animals from smallest to largest.

Mathematics/Pattern & Measurement; shows increasing abilities to match, sort, put in series, and regroup objects according to one or two attributes such as shape or size.


            Put out the How to Draw a Monkey directions and encourage the children to try to read teh directions and draw.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; progresses in abilities to use writing, drawing, and art tools, including pencils, markers, chalk, paint brushes, and various types of technology.

Sand and Water

            Put any hard plastic baby dolls that you have in water today. Add several washcloths and towels for the children to give the dolls baths. Remind them that babies and children need to stay clean and healthy.

Physical Health & Development/Health Status & Practices; shows growing independence in hygiene, nutrition, and personal care when eating, dressing, washing hands, brushing teeth, and toileting. AND Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; participates in a variety of dramatic play activities that become more extended and complex.

Library and Writing

            Cut out the picture cards. Have the children sort them by pictures that start with the G sound and those that do not.

Literacy/Phonological Awareness; shows growing awareness of beginning and ending sounds of words.

Dramatic Play

           Let the children play Birthday Party. Give them the crepe paper to decorate by hanging on the walls. Give them the boxes or blocks to wrap with paper and masking tape as gifts. Add any other party supplies that you might have.

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Math and Manipulatives

            Make several copies of the large banana card and have the children use it to measure how many bananas tall their partner is.  Record (Kerry is 4 bananas tall).  Encourage them to also measure the table, the book shelf. etc..

Mathematics/Patterns & Measurement; shows progress in using standard and non-standard measures for length and area of objects.


            Use a ball to play Monkey in the Middle.  Two people throw a ball back and forth.  Some one, the monkey, is in the middle and must try to get the ball before the throwers.  If they do, then a thrower goes in the middle and the monkey comes out to be a thrower.

Physical Health Development/Gross Motor Skills; demonstrates increasing abilities to coordinate movements in throwing, catching, kicking, bouncing balls, and using the slide and swing.


Play I’m Bigger Than-Smaller Than. Make up riddles for the children to solve. (I am an animal that is bigger than a cow. I have wrinkly skin and a long nose called a trunk. I am smaller than a mouse. I am an insect that has spots on my back and wings to fly).

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences. AND Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.


Things that start with /G/ and things that do not
Bananas for measuring
About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.