Age Range: 5 - 11

Hannah's father never seems to have time for her and so she is often left alone and lonely. She loves gorillas and longs for one for her birthday. On the night before her birthday she wakes up to find a parcel, containing a toy gorilla, by her bed. Disappointed she goes back to sleep. Later that night though, something magical happens-a real gorilla appears and takes her on a magical journey.

Book Author: Anthony Browne

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Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Could you write a similar story, but based on a different animal?
  • Can you rewrite the story from the point of view of the gorilla? Where did he come from?
  • Try to write a sequel to the story... what other adventures did Hannah and the gorilla go on?
  • On the night before her birthday, Hannah was 'tingling with excitement'. Can you think of other ways to describe how she was feeling?
  • Look at the use of speech within the text. Could you rewrite the story as a play? Could you perform the play to others?
  • Plan / storyboard the plot of a gorilla movie that Hannah goes to see.
  • Perform a reading of the story using expression to make it interesting to those listening. Use this video for inspiration:


  • Look at the patterns in the picture of Hannah's kitchen. Can you see any examples of tessellation / symmetry / right angles?


  • Write a fact sheet about gorillas, researching the topic if you need to.
  • Look at the illustrations and find all of the different shadows. What is a shadow?
  • Hannah and the gorilla see the primates at the zoo. Can you find out about primates? What different types of primate are there? How are they similar / different?


  • Look at the shadows in the illustrations. Can you draw a picture which has shadows in it? Think about where the light is and what objects / people might block it.
  • Some of the pictures include silhouettes. Can you draw your own silhouette pictures?
  • Famous works of art can be found in the illustrations, but the people have been replaced by gorillas. Can you identify the original pictures? Who painted them?
  • Could you create your own picture which is based on a famous work of art, but where the people are replaced with animals?
  • Look at photos of different primates and draw your own pictures of some of them. You could also look at video footage of gorillas and other primates. For example:


  • Look at the map on Hannah's wall. What place is shown in it? What information can you find out about that place?

Physical education

  • Plan a dance for Hannah and the gorilla.


  • Look at the expressions of the characters in each picture. How are they feeling? How do you know?
  • Add speech or thought bubbles to each of the illustrations to show what the characters are thinking / feeling.


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