From School Library Journal
Grade 3–6—Sobol takes readers along on his journey to central Africa in search of mountain gorillas. As he prepares for his encounter, he shares what he has learned about this critically endangered species. He weaves facts about their daily lives and social structure into his account. His photos of the people and landscapes near Bwindi National Park reveal the close proximity of human fields and villages to the mountainous area where the 650 gorillas live. Guided by park rangers who strictly limit visitor access to the gorilla area, Sobol slips on muddy paths, crawls over logs, and battles dense brush to find the huge creatures eating their leafy breakfast. His photos and commentary offer insightful observations of old and young gorillas on the ground and in the trees. He explains the photography techniques he used to capture various images. War, diseases, poaching, and habitat loss threaten the mountain gorillas, which cannot survive in captivity. The naturalist's admiration for the animals and the people working to protect them provides a personal perspective, which complements other titles that offer more straightforward, factual presentations.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Wildlife photographer Richard Sobol begins this chronicle of his journey to Uganda to photograph the mountain gorilla by discussing the initial research he did to prepare for the trip and the making of travel arrangements. But the majority of the book centers on Sobol’s first-person account of the actual expedition to the mountainous rain forest to observe this creature in its natural habitat, as well as what he learned regarding mountain-gorilla conservation efforts. Remarkable and well-captioned full-color photographs abound, often two or three per two-page spread. While it is likely young students will wish for more up-close photos of the gorillas themselves, Sobol has included enough shots of the land and people of this area to make readers feel a part of the trip. An afterword by actor Leonardo DiCaprio encourages students to be aware of the risks to mountain gorillas. Although there is no index, a brief list of mountain-gorilla facts, glossary, and useful Web sites conclude. Grades 2-4. --Shauna Yusko