GORILLAS by Seymour Simon
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 8 - 11
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“The more you find out about gorillas, the more interesting and less fearsome they become” is this prolific author’s theme; he makes his case by matching appealing, shot-in-the-wild photographs to a fluently informative report on the gorilla’s physical make-up and typical behavior. They are not so different from us, he contends, pointing to their DNA, fingerprints, and other features, describing their daily routines in the wild, how young are raised, what gorilla sounds and gestures signify, how they respond to perceived threats, and so on. His approach is wonderfully accessible, giving his young readers connections they can recognize: “Fully grown males may weigh more than four hundred pounds, about the weight of ten second-grade children.” While it’s an idyllic existence—“A gorilla belch means that it is feeding contentedly or sleeping nicely. One gorilla belches, and soon all the gorillas are belching in a slow, relaxing chorus”—it is also threatened, he notes at the end. Building his case carefully and thoughtfully, Simon (They Walk the Earth, p. 485, etc.) leads the reader to understand how nearly human these gentle creatures are, thereby increasing the sense of obligation to save them by saving their forests. The photographs, most of which are closeups, capture how expressive gorilla faces can be. Who could resist their charm? Like Ted and Betsy Lewin’s Gorilla Walk (1999), a sure way to turn gorilla-phobes into gorilla-philes. (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2000
ISBN: 0-06-023035-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2000


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