Cover image for Koko-love! : Conversations with a signing gorilla
Koko-love! : Conversations with a signing gorilla
Patterson, Francine.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 28 cm
The real life experience of Koko, a gorilla in California who uses sign language.
Reading Level:
760 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.0 1.0 31877.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.2 3 Quiz: 24033.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL795.G7 P38 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
QL795.G7 P38 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
QL795.G7 P38 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
QL795.G7 P38 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Oversize

On Order



In 1972 Dr. Francine Patterson began teaching American Sign Language to a 1-year-old gorilla named Koko. In the longest running animal language exit to date, Koko spent 27 years developing a vocabulary of over 1,000 words.

Even more impressive than the breadth of Koko's vocabulary is the way in which she uses these signs to express herself. Koko is able to do so much more than simply identify objects; she has a very active emotional life and often conveys feelings of love, grief and even embarrassment. When asked who she is, Koko has been known to sign "Fine animal gorilla." When given a pet kitten, she named it "All Ball" because it had no tail, and when bitten by the kitty, Koko would sign "Cat bit. Obnoxious." But ever patient and caring, Koko loved and nurtured Ball as any mother would.

Beautiful full-color photographs help to demonstrate Koko's enormous sensitivity end understanding.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. Fans of Koko, the gorilla who can "speak" through sign language, get an update of her doings in this slim, colorful volume. The book begins with Koko's online chat, and after some history about Koko and her "brother" Michael, discusses what's new in Koko's life: a new cat (her kitty, All-ball, died); a visit with Mr. Rogers; a boyfriend, with whom Koko's teachers and caretakers hope she will eventually mate. Koko is also signing all sorts of fresh words and concepts, and she's even painting and helping to write stories (she suggests words as her teacher dictates a tale). Photographer Ronald Cohen has been taking pictures of Koko since 1972, but a few of the ones here are blurry. Even the best shots are not helped by a design that uses overlapping photos and picture borders in various colors. Still, Koko is endlessly fascinating, and the easily digested text is both solid and fun. --Ilene Cooper

Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-More in the saga of Koko, the communicating gorilla who has pet kittens and continues to learn new language skills, is related by her surrogate mother, Dr. Patterson, and illustrated with good color photographs of various sizes showing Koko's activities and accomplishments in a lively format. She paints pictures, uses a computer, plays with a male gorilla friend who also signs, brushes her teeth, and wants a baby of her own. The simple, clear text traces the gorilla's life to date, cites actual conversations she has had with her human friends, and includes two pages of photos of Koko signing various words, from apple to visit. Readers who want to learn more about the Gorilla Foundation or to help support worldwide ecology efforts are encouraged to visit Koko's Web site or to write to Patterson (and Koko). A lively look at a fascinating subject.-Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.