BABOON by David Jones


Age Range: 11 - 13
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A clear and likable transformation story inside a distractingly problematic frame. Gerry’s parents study baboons in Tanzania. On the way to camp, their tiny plane crashes and 14-year-old Gerry is knocked unconscious. When he awakes, he’s a baboon. He finds the baboon troop and integrates himself into it, learning to forage and follow their patterns. Gerry retains his own consciousness, though over time he slides into a more baboon-like perspective. Meanwhile, Gerry’s human body lies in a coma in the nearest hospital. Gerry the baboon, wounded by a poacher attack and a fire, seeks his parents’ camp, where he’s killed by a leopard—just as his consciousness returns to the human body. No explanation is given for either transportation. The doctors purport that Gerry “just dreamed the whole thing while . . . in a coma,” but logical readers will note that Gerry’s baboon memories would be easily verifiable. Details of the baboons’ daily lives are well-written and interesting, but the frame’s confoundingly flimsy; steer discerning readers to Peter Dickinson’s Eva instead. (Fantasy. 11-13)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-55451-054-2
Page count: 174pp
Publisher: Annick Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2007