Koko's Kitten

Amazing true story captivates young listeners.

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

Gentle Koko occasionally looks fierce and frightening, especially in pictures taken while she mourns for All Ball. All Ball is run over by a car and dies. Koko's grief is discussed thoroughly.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Koko's kitten dies suddenly, and Koko becomes angry and sad.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Children love pets, and Koko the gorilla is no exception. When her keeper asks her what she wants, Koko insistently replies--in American Sign Language--"Cat, cat, cat." Enter All Ball, a tiny kitten abandoned at birth, who isn't afraid of anything--even a 500-pound primate. This amazing true story captivates young listeners.

Is it any good?


Although this book's pages seem text-heavy, the story of these two mammal friends captivates even the youngest listeners -- and children seem even more engaged because the story is true. The photographs give the reader a closer-than-the-zoo look at one of our remarkable primate cousins.

Kids gravitate toward the story and are eager to share their own pet tales after seeing Koko and All Ball at play. And because the book expresses the despair and anger Koko feels after All Ball's sudden death, children who have also experienced the loss of a pet are encouraged to vent their feelings. Since Koko is renowned for her ability to communicate with humans, it seems appropriate that her tale opens the door for children to share their grief.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Koko's loss. How does she feel when the kitten dies? Why is she angry? Families can also discuss communication. Talk about ways you communicate with words, and try learning some sign language.

Book details

Author:Dr. Francine Patterson
Illustrator:Ronald H. Cohn
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:Scholastic Inc.
Publication date:January 1, 1985
Number of pages:30
Publisher's recommended age(s):2 - 4

This review of Koko's Kitten was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 10 years old May 2, 2012
age 2+

Koko's Kitten The best

I am reading this in school and I think this is one of the best books I have read. I am in fourth grade too and I hope that if you read it you will enjoy it too!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 9 years old April 9, 2008
age 0+


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?
Thanks – we appreciate your feedback!

Digital Compass