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Saving Their World and Ours

by Jane Goodall

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-439-21310-X
Publisher: Scholastic

Goodall’s latest is a fascinating look at the behavior, development, and communication methods of the animals she has devoted her life to studying. This amazing woman realized her dream of working with the chimps in Gombe, Africa, without a college degree, and in a male-dominated world—what a wonderful role model for young girls interested in the sciences. Through the researcher’s eyes, the reader sees how the scientists interpret the behaviors of the chimps—from the meanings of the 34 distinct sounds chimps make and the changing relationships among same-sex chimpanzees to the way chimpanzees learn to care for their offspring. Noticeably absent, however, is any information on mating or relations among family groups and opposite-sex chimpanzees. Photos highlight the almost eerie human-like qualities of the chimpanzees—the expressions on their faces, the care they take with one another, and the way they use the items in their environment to make tools. Captions identify the individual chimps by name, and one interesting chapter is devoted to following a chimp family through their day. Brief excerpts from her experiences in Africa whet readers’ appetites and will leave them craving more—a list of additional Goodall titles is included. The combination of autobiography and nonfiction works well, bringing the reader into the jungle with the scientist. The famous researcher is also effective in raising awareness and gathering support for her cause. The sections about chimps in captivity and the poor management of natural resources in their natural habitat will have readers logging on to her Web site to find out how they can get involved. An excellent look at how researchers work and a fascinating introduction to chimpanzees. (Nonfiction. 8-12)