Grades K - 3
Grade level Equivalent: 4.6
Lexile Measure®: 610L
Guided Reading: M
- General Nonfiction
- Apes and Monkeys
- Codes, Messages, Signs
- Science Experiments and Projects
- Friends and Friendship
About This Book
This is the true story of Koko the gorilla and her kitten, All Ball — how they met, how Koko loved and cared for All Ball, and how Koko grieved when All Ball died. The story is told by Dr. Francine Patterson, the first person to communicate with a gorilla using American Sign Language.
Over thirteen years, Koko learned about five hundred words from Dr. Patterson, which she used to communicate her feelings and desires. One of the desires she was able to express through ASL was for a kitten. At first, Dr. Patterson was not sure how Koko would treat a little kitten, but there was nothing to worry about. Koko treated the kitten as though it was her own baby. The affection and caring in the relationships between Dr. Patterson and Koko and between Koko and her kitten are captured in Ronald Cohn's beautiful photographs.
This selection is a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, as well as a Reading Rainbow Selection and a New York Academy of Science Honor Book. It may be used for studies in Natural Science, Animal Studies, Communications, or Death and Dying. The book follows Koko through her grieving and recovery process as she mourns All Ball and finally meets her new red tabby kitten.
Dr. Francine Patterson earned her graduate degree in developmental psychology from Stanford University. Dr. Patterson began working with Koko in 1972 at the San Francisco Zoo. She and Ronald Cohn are members of The Gorilla Foundation.
Praise for Koko's Kitten
"Lets readers see…the gentle mind that wanted something to love and be loved by." — School Library Journal