From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–This is a quiet yet candid story about Rickie, a chimpanzee who lost her mother in a brutal hunter's attack, and who was taken from the rain forest to be sold in Brazzaville, Congo Republic. Goodall does not shy away from the imagined suffering a chimpanzee infant would experience in such circumstances yet the story remains elegant. Rickie bonded with the Congolese man who took her home and found it intolerable when he left on a business trip, so she became deeply attached to the family dog, Henri. Operating on various levels, this story is about the plight of African animals, human kindness, and the compassion and friendship animals can exhibit toward one another. The illustrations masterfully capture terror and despair in Rickie's eyes without being maudlin–they are honest and clearly support the story. Goodall closes with a postscript about Rickie and a Web site for her institute for wildlife research, education, and conservation.–Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 3. Renowned wildlife conservationist Goodall tells a heartbreaking animal story in a powerful picture book that stays true to the experience of a baby chimpanzee in Central Africa. It begins in the wild rain forest with a full-page close-up of the baby in the loving embrace of her mother. Then a hunter shoots the mother and offers the traumatized baby for sale in a Brazzaville market. She is saved by a kind Congolese businessman. He loves her, and she loves him, but the rest of his family is hostile. While the man is at work, she bonds with Henri, the family's shaggy, brown dog. It's your archetypal abandoned foundling story, and Marks' line-and-watercolor illustrations show the baby wrenched from her mother's arms, in loving connection with a man and a dog, and, finally, with a chimp mother in a Jane Goodall orphan sanctuary. Set against softly colored backgrounds, the pictures occasionally verge on the sentimental, but few children will be able to resist the images of the small black chimp with huge, sad eyes clinging tightly to the dog, riding on his back, or curled sleeping against him. Goodall makes clear the terror and the love, and in a brief afterword she asks for readers' support in sanctuaries' work. Hazel Rochman
See all Editorial Reviews
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved