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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

If you had to pick all the Peggy Rathmann books that exist, you probably wouldn’t begin with her title The Day the Babies Crawled Away (which we did do in a previous episode). Instead, you’d probably want to do today’s book! Is it her most famous? Dunno. Probably a toss up between this and Office Buckle and Gloria. Today Kate and I dig deep into a title that certainly contains the world’s most short-sighted escape plan. The Great Escape, this is not.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, PlayerFM, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Show Notes:

Here is the New York Times article that talks about Peggy Rathmann’s new life and grand good life is Can Dirt Save the Earth: Agriculture Could Pull Carbon Out of the Air Into the Soil.

I never saw any similarities between this story and The One and Only Ivan, but when you see the size of the cage that this poor little gorilla is stuck in, you begin to wonder what its quality of life is.

How is it kind to the elephant to give them a Babar toy? “Sorry, buddy. Maybe if you had spats you could get out of this situation.”

I’m with Kate. That is definitely an Ernie (as in Ernie & Bert) toy.

My theory that was the original front door of the zoo back in 1938, but now it’s the backdoor (hence in the grassy green lawn).

Should we worry about this cuddly couple? Not that I’m not grateful to Ms. Rathmann for creating a sympathetic (even cuddly) hyena character. They tend to have the worst press in the animal kingdom. But hyenas also have the strongest jaws. Surely they could chaw right through that shell, right?

This banana is going to be SO bruised by the time all this is said and done. Ew.

Okay. I really love the theory that the zookeeper didn’t just fall immediately to sleep, and that he DID hear everyone in the room saying “Good night”, didn’t want to deal with it, and let his wife take care of it. After all, he suddenly is awake when she goes to bed a second time.

Once, twice, thrice. My favorite detail in the book.

As I mention on the show, this book came in at #40 on the Top 100 Picture Books Poll, and #12 on the Top 100 Board Books Poll.

The podcast mentioned is ArtCurious. Be sure to check it out.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Danielle says:

    Somewhere, possibly from this blog, I read a wonderful theory once. It was basically that the woman is actually the zookeeper and the man is the night watchman. Love it!