JANE GOODALL by Eleanor Coerr


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When little Jane prefers squirrel watching to school, her mother tells her that before going to Africa to study animals she will have to get good grades and become a scientist. Then ""'I'll try not to be late anymore,' (Jane) promised. 'And I'll even work hard at every subject.'"" Whether or not such a conversation actually occurred, its transcription here doesn't do much to vivify Jane's childhood. And it's especially ironic considering that Goodall got her start without any higher education. Later pages are just as bland on her personal life (the marriage and divorce, for example) and skimpy on the work and findings that make her interesting at any level. (Moreover it was the chimps' tool making, not mere tool using as Coerr reports, that constituted Goodall's ""important discovery."") Coerr has of course hit on an ideal subject for a young biography, but that's all we can say in her favor.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1976
Publisher: Putnam