Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Koko's Kitten

Koko's Kitten

Francine Patterson
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Scholastic, 1987   ISBN: 978-0590444255

Koko the gorilla has decided that she wants a cat. In fact she tells her "parent" Penny as much and in no uncertain terms. But when she is given a toy cat for Christmas Koko is very disappointed; the toy is not what she wanted at all. What Koko clearly wants is a real kitten of her own and at long last she gets one. Koko decides to call the kitten, who has no tail, All Ball.

In no time All Ball is her dearest friend, playmate and "Baby." Koko also tells her friends how much "Koko love" her kitten. Then one December morning All Ball is hit and killed by a car. Everyone is upset, especially Koko who is very distressed that her pet is gone. Koko shares her feeling with Penny by saying "Cry, sad, frown." When the world hears about the famous gorilla's loss and the grief that she is feeling, they send letters saying that Koko needs a new kitten to keep her company. Now Penny is going to have to try to find another tailless kitten for her large friend.

This is a touching and heart warming story about Koko, the famous gorilla who has learned American Sign Language and who has a vocabulary of about one thousand words. We see that Koko is not only able to explain what she wants, but she is also able to describe her feelings.

Koko is a wonderful spokesperson for her species. Today gorillas are endangered and need protection. When we 'meet' Koko we can see how special these gentle animals are and realize that the world would be a poorer place without them.

Wonderful color photographs fill the book and the author includes additional information about Koko and the Gorilla Foundation in the preface and epilogue.