One of my favorite stories for sharing in story time is Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein. This delightful book stars a little gorilla whose family loves him when he’s little and even as they watch him grow and grow and grow into a great big gorilla, they still love him. This is a story about unconditional love, the importance of friends and family and community. The narrative describes various jungle animals (giraffe, elephant, lion and even a big boa constrictor!) helping care for Little Gorilla. It ends with a birthday song, and the reassurance that although he’s now almost too big to fit on the page, everyone still loves “little” gorilla.
I’ve read this story for both birthday and monkey-themed storytimes, and used flannel props or stuffed animals to help tell the story, but the illustrations are vibrant and engaging on their own. I prefer the “lap size” board book version.
Check out this adorable video of a parent and child enjoying this book together- you’ll notice that the adult lingers on the page that the child is most interested in- the lion roaring- and follows her interest instead of insisting on getting through the rest of the story…a great example of print motivation (one of the six early literacy skills, this simply means an interest in and enjoyment of books)!