Kirkus Star


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An effectively personalized animal biography about one gorilla's life in the jungle and later in the zoo. The first section accurately depicts gorilla behavior in the wild while evoking the sensations of jungle life and the awe a young gorilla must feel for the group's silver-backed leader and his ""violent and compelling ritual"" of hooting and chest thumping. Then hunters come and ""trap the young, one with a net among the trees of his own misty forest."" Listless in the truck and plane and then in his cage at the zoo, the gorilla returns to life when an orang-utan in the next cage reaches into his for his uneaten apples. Then a young female gorilla replaces the orang-utan next door and the male ""smelled his mother and sun on dozing bodies. . . . Old ways stirred in his blood."" And at last, before the Sunday crowds, he stirs the new arrival from her lethargy by climbing to the top of his small tree and throwing himself into the magnificent hooting, thumping, thrashing performance we have witnessed in the silver-backed leader. Fenner has turned a reading of Schaller's Year of the Gorilla and her own zoo observations into a sound and vividly empathic account, and Shimin's soft gray drawings reiforce the mood of her prose.

Pub Date: March 26th, 1973
Publisher: Random House