When Gorilla Goes Walking


A humorous and wonderfully poetic story about Cecilia and her pet cat, Gorilla!

"When Gorilla goes walking, the neighbors laugh and stare at her tailless rump and her very proud air."

Gorilla is an affectionate, jealous, lovable cat who constantly wants to play with Cecilia. Experience their unique relationship through Nikki Grimes's lyrical poetry and Shane Evans's vibrant artwork. Readers will fall in love ...

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A humorous and wonderfully poetic story about Cecilia and her pet cat, Gorilla!

"When Gorilla goes walking, the neighbors laugh and stare at her tailless rump and her very proud air."

Gorilla is an affectionate, jealous, lovable cat who constantly wants to play with Cecilia. Experience their unique relationship through Nikki Grimes's lyrical poetry and Shane Evans's vibrant artwork. Readers will fall in love with Gorilla and wish they could bring her home with them!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A girl's keen and loving observations of her audacious, "rain-cloud gray" cat-the Gorilla of the title-are the inspiration for this wonderful suite of poems by Grimes (Dark Sons). The book also serves as a kind of primer on poetry, proving that the medium is infinite in its versatility; Grimes offers up everything from multi-stanza paeans (both rhyming and not) to a sort of haiku ("Gorilla gazes/ into a puddle. Does she/ know she's beautiful?"). Her word choices are always lively and evoke an appropriately feline combination of affection and entitlement ("I scratch Gorilla's belly when/ she commandeers my lap"). Of course, it helps to have such a rich subject-Gorilla loves to fight with ivy, cuddle on a sick bed, interrupt homework, eat soul food and pine for a tom cat. Evans's (Here We Go Round) poster-like paintings are the perfect accompaniment-the illustrator beautifully captures the many moods of both the supremely confident Gorilla and her adoring mistress. A winner for youngsters, cat fans and poetry lovers of all ages. Ages 4-8. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Keri Collins
She eats soul food, chases dogs, and races to answer the phone when it rings—then takes offense when the call is not for her. She is a comforting presence when Cecilia is sad, and a menace when Cecilia is finger painting. Bed-hog, fly-chaser, and guardian, Gorilla is a cat short on tail but long on personality. Award-winning author Nikki Grimes pays tribute to feline friendship in this rhythmic saunter through the joys and perils of having a pet. The collection of rhyming poems runs the gamut from humorous to tender and takes its title from a poem that describes how Cecilia puts a leash on her cat and takes her for walks in the neighborhood in spite of the stares they receive, ostensibly because Gorilla has no tail. Each short poem is delightfully illustrated by Shane Evans's vivid paintings which portray Gorilla's unusual shape and capture the drama of each experience, including a trip to the veterinarian. This compilation of poems about a favorite topic will appeal to pet lovers, but will also be a useful tool in encouraging students to try writing poetry themselves because the poems are accessible, short, funny, and full of familiar images.
School Library Journal

PreS - Gr 4 - Enormous, lively illustrations are paired with an equally bouncy text in this winning picture book. In a series of delightful poems, a girl introduces her cat, Gorilla, and describes her pet's many interests, talents, and behaviors. "A fierce meow,/a tiger's claws-/Gorilla ain't/no Santa Paws . . . .She has no tail./She's rain-cloud gray./I love that cool cat/more each day." While the feline is decidedly the star of this show, Cecilia also shares tidbits about her own life, such as getting into trouble for making a mess and feeling sad when her best friend moves away. The rich and rewarding relationship enjoyed by cat and human comes through loud and clear. From a breathless entry about the animal chasing a fly, to an elegant haiku ("Gorilla gazes/into a puddle. Does she/know she's beautiful?"), the poems vary in style and mood. Grimes's use of language and point of view are consistently refreshing and childlike. The bold cartoon artwork endearingly portrays the African-American narrator and her smoke-colored pet as they play together, comfort one another, and experience life's ups and downs. This book is an excellent choice for cat lovers, budding poetry enthusiasts, and just about any reader who enjoys a fun-filled romp with words.-Andrea Tarr, Corona Public Library, CA

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
A young girl named Cecilia describes her affection and relationship with her cat, Gorilla, in short snappy poems. There are 19 in all, each one titled to set the scene for Gorilla's many roles: feline nurse, wry boxer, phone-pouncer, paint-tracker, pin-the-tail target, bedmate, soul-food gourmand, tear-licker (when Cecilia's best friend moves away), fly-chaser, guard cat-and ending with Cecilia proudly announcing, "I'm Gorilla's human. Don't ever forget!" Broadly shaped images in Alkyd paints, set against white backgrounds, spill over the pages and rely on their size rather than detailed bodies to define the drama of everyday events. Gorilla is gray and green-eyed, and Cecilia is brown-skinned with dreadlocks. Cat lovers will identify with all the feline traits and tricks, and the cat-girl sentiments are precisely on target. A great cover-a close-up of green-eyed, gray Gorilla's head with tongue licking her chops-is sure to entice cat lovers everywhere. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439317702
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Whether writing poetry or fiction, Nikki Grimes has succeeded in creating works featuring young African-American characters with whom children and young adults can identify. Drawing upon scenes from her own childhood in New York City, Grimes is noted for successfully conveying the black experience and universal themes such as friendship, tolerance, family, and community relationships. Despite a difficult childhood, her stories are characterized by optimism and warmth. Her acclaimed titles include: Come Sunday, an ALA Notable Book, A Dime a Dozen, a Junior Library Guild selection, and Jazmin’s Notebook, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

Nikki Grimes currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

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