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Gorillas: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about gorillas?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to gorillas. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about gorillas.

Our list includes board books, picture books, and chapter books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about gorillas, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Boom! Boom! Boom! to popular sellers like The One and Only Ivan to some of our favorite hidden gems like Gorilla Loves Vanilla.

We hope this list of kids books about gorillas can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Gorilla Loves Vanilla
Written by Chae Strathie & illustrated by Nicola O'Byrne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

When five animals dash through the door of the local ice cream shop, they’re looking for the ice cream treat of their dreams. The flavors are wildly imaginative—but everyone else thinks they’re just plain crazy. That is, until Gorilla walks in and asks for the most surprising choice of all.

Look!
Written & illustrated by Jeff Mack
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Everyone needs a little attention from time to time. Just ask our gorilla who will stop at nothing to be noticed by the boy with his eyes glued to the TV set. But for the gorilla, it’s going to take more than a quiet nudge to steal away the boy’s attention. When his usual antics fail to catch the boy’s eye-Look Out!The gorilla has some other tricks up his sleeve. Using only two words-Look and Out-Jeff Mack relates an adorably hilarious story about an attention-loving gorilla, a television-loving boy, and a friendship that develops over books. Simple in construct yet richly creative, this interactive and colorful tale will leave children laughing and loving books for years to come. Perfect for fans of It’s a Book and Officer Buckle and Gloria.

No Fits, Nilson!
Written & illustrated by Zachariah OHora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Nilson and Amelia do everything together. But if one little thing goes wrong, Nilson throws the biggest, most house shaking-est fit ever! Amelia helps Nilson control his gorilla-sized temper by promising him banana ice cream and letting him play with her froggy coin purse. But, sometimes, Amelia needs to be calmed down, too.

Inspired by Ohora’s own “negotiations” with his two sons, No Fits, Nilson! is a hilarious preschool pick for kids and parents navigating the treacherous tantrum phase.

Second Banana
Written & illustrated by Keith Graves
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

“A picture book about Oop, a gorilla, who is second banana to The Amazing Mr. Bubbles, a monkey, until one day, Mr. Bubbles finds himself in trouble and Oop has to save the day”—

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla
Written by Katherine Applegate & illustrated by Mr. G. Brian Karas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In a spare, powerful text and evocative illustrations, the Newbery medalist Katherine Applegate and the artist G. Brian Karas present the extraordinary real story of a special gorilla. Captured as a baby, Ivan was brought to a Tacoma, Washington, mall to attract shoppers. Gradually, public pressure built until a better way of life for Ivan was found at Zoo Atlanta. From the Congo to America, and from a local business attraction to a national symbol of animal welfare, Ivan the Shopping Mall Gorilla traveled an astonishing distance in miles and in impact. This is his true story and includes photographs of Ivan in the back matter.

  • The One and Only Ivan - Soon to be a major motion picture! This Harper Classic edition of the Newbery Medal winner and #1 New York Times bestseller includes an author’s note, a letter from the real Ivan’s caretaker at Zoo Atlanta, Ivan’s “signature,” discussion questions, and more. This unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendship. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated book is told from the point of view of Ivan himself. Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes. In the tradition of timeless classics such as Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. Katherine Applegate’s novel blends humor and poignancy to create this incredible tale of friendship, art, and hope. The One and Only Ivan was named to multiple state lists, received three starred reviews, and was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon. Plus don’t miss Katherine Applegate’s Endling series!

  • Gorilla Dawn - “It is time, Imara. Imara left the shadows and stepped into the pool of moonlight, listening to the demon as he paced inside her mind. It is time, Imara. The men are waiting for you. They are waiting for your power to protect them. She knelt down and poured the contents of her water bottle into the ashes of last night’s fire, stirring with her fingers, working the mixture into a gritty paste. All around her, the forest was dark and still, wrapped in silence. Nothing moved. High above in the canopy, a pale mist clung to the leaves. Thin tendrils of vapor hung in the air, as if the trees were holding their breath, waiting for the dawn. The Black Mamba and his men were folded into the deep moon-shadows. Only the cold light catching the metal of their rifles told they were not of this place. Come on, Imara, hissed the demon. They’re watching you. Imara’s hands hovered over the ash paste and trembled. Stupid girl. Don’t show your fear. You know what they’ll do if they see your fear. Imara breathed in deeply, filling her lungs with the cool night air. She tried to block her mind from the purpose of her task. She hummed softly, trying to ignore the demon and scooped the ash paste into her hand. Hurry, Imara. They want to see their spirit child.”

  • Gorilla - Celebrate thirty years of a classic picture book by one of today’s most celebrated author-illustrators! A special anniversary edition. Hannah loves gorillas and longs to see a real one. Unfortunately, her father is always too busy — or too tired — to take her to the zoo. But on the night before her birthday, something extraordinary happens and Hannah’s wish finally comes true. Anthony Browne’s classic story of a girl’s moonlit night of adventure, courtesy of a surprising and kindly friend, returns in a larger trim size with striking cover art by the artist for the book’s thirtieth anniversary.

  • One Gorilla: A Counting Book - Here is a list of the things I love. One gorilla. Two butterflies among my flowers—and one gorilla. Tree budgerigars in my house—and one gorilla. One very playful gorilla keeps popping up in gardens, forests, jungles, and even people’s houses as he takes the reader on a wild counting adventure. He hides—as much as a gorilla can!—along with all the other creatures as they dart, leap, and peer from the most surprising places, waiting to be counted. A chart at the end of the book provides a key to all the animals and their corresponding numbers. Soft, precise illustrations characterize this colorful counting book.

Boom! Boom! Boom!
Written by Przemysław Wechterowicz & illustrated by Marianna Oklejak
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Take a rhythmic musical journey round the world with this fun rhyming picture book! “Two gorillas and their chum. At the sound the people come. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” As the trio dances to the music of the drums, moving and grooving through the jungle and into the city, they’re joined by a host of other animals and people who can’t resist the infectious rhythm. The delightful rhymes and lively, colorful pictures will soon have kids jumping in, too!

Good Morning, Gorillas
Written by Mary Pope Osborne & illustrated by Sal Murdocca
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

The magic tree house takes Jack and Annie to an African rainforest, where the siblings encounter gorillas and learn to communicate with them.

Betty Goes Bananas
Written & illustrated by Steve Antony
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Like Molly Bang’s When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry, this book offers families a perfect opportunity to openly discuss emotions and behavior. Meet Betty, a gorilla. She wants to eat a banana, but . . . try as she might, she can’t open it! Poor Betty—she just can’t cope, and her frustration quickly becomes a great BIG tantrum. She cries and sniffles, kicks and screams. Luckily, Mr. Toucan is at hand to peel the banana and help Betty calm down. But what will happen when Betty spots another banana? Both preschoolers and parents will laugh out loud at this simple, utterly hilarious picture book about tantrums.

Playtime?
Written & illustrated by Jeff Mack
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

This funny picture book ode to the struggles of bedtime is perfect for fans of Mo Willems’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!

Bedtime can be a challenge for the best of us. But when you’re a fun-loving, overactive pet gorilla, bedtime is downright hard. Who would want to go to sleep when Playtime is so much more fun? But the gorilla’s responsible friend thinks enough is enough; no more fun and games. It’s not Playtime–It’s Bedtime! So the boy turns off the lights and the gorilla goes . . .

Well, definitely NOT to sleep!

Using only two words–Playtime and Bedtime–and an abundance of clever, giggle-inducing artwork, Playtime! is simple yet richly creative and bursting with childlike humor. Your own little gorilla will find it irresistible.

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