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Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas Paperback – August 4, 2015
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Ottaviani’s latest, after Feynman (2011), manages to compress the fascinating stories of three groundbreaking scientists—Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas—into a slim volume without skimping on their rich characters and joyful discoveries. Thanks to Wicks’ colorful, lively, Hergé-like art, each scientist (and primate) has a distinct personality, but it’s the depictions of the animals—emerging from lush, leafy backgrounds or lolling in trees—that steal the show. A chimp mugs to the viewer with a boastful, precocious grin, for instance, after Goodall observes it using a tool to forage for food. For all the playful mugging and gratifying discoveries, though, Ottaviani doesn’t shy away from the struggles of living and working in the bush. Presented as dedicated, iconoclastic, and profoundly in awe of the creatures around them, Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas are inspiring figures, and Ottaviani does a first-rate job of dangling enough tantalizing tidbits to pique readers’ interest in the topic. The actual science is a bit light, but an author’s note strongly encourages further reading and includes resources. Grades 9-12. --Sarah Hunter --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“An accessible introduction to Goodall's, Fossey's and Galdikas' lives and work.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“A graphic format admirably propels this lightly fictionalized group biography.” ―The Horn Book
“Presented as dedicated, iconoclastic, and profoundly in awe of the creatures around them, Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas are inspiring figures, and Ottaviani does a first-rate job of dangling enough tantalizing tidbits to pique readers' interest in the topic.” ―Booklist
“The story of how each of these women loved primates and lived among them to study their behavior is compelling, and might inspire a whole new generation of scientists to follow in their footsteps.” ―School Library Journal
“This is an inviting introduction that will undoubtedly lure many readers into further investigation of this groundbreaking fieldwork.” ―BCCB
“[Ottaviani and Wicks] succeed in conjuring the feel of extraordinary science. And they do so not by manufacturing fake emotion, but by sticking to the reality of being a scientist--the hard punishments of fieldwork, the strains on marriage, the cocktail-party diplomacy back home and, most important of all, the elation of discovery. Especially in its portrayal of this final element,Primates is the kind of book that can produce new scientists.” ―Carl Zimmer, The New York Times Book Review
“Ottaviani succeeds in capturing their hard work and the thrilling breakthroughs during years of research, without looking away from some of the darker details, such as Leakey's womanizing. Wicks's cartoony illustrations are a great match for the story; they never get bogged down with unnecessary details and briskly move forward the account of the women and their subjects. A riveting, jargon-free overview of one of the great stories of animal research.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Readers are given a first-person glimpse into Jane's passion for chimps, Dian's determination to protect the world's gorillas, and Birute's enthusiasm for orangutans. The art is simplistic, yet powerful, with interesting details about the scientists' introductions to life with and the study of primates. . . . Primates is an intriguing introduction to three female scientists who changed the way the world defined 'human.'” ―VOYA
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Top Customer Reviews
Wicks clean, engaging, Herge-like drawings bring humor and clarity: illuminating the character of the individuals, their study subjects and their intertwined relationships. Sequenced panels adeptly convey the ape behavior the women observed and comically represent their less than decorous reactions. The book entertains but does not pander: Leakey’s womanizing is alluded to, marriages fail and readers must use observational skills to get the most from the story. Fossey's death is referred to, but her murder is not mentioned. Lively and humorous yet respectful, Primates piques interest in three inspiring lives but does not attempt to answer all questions or convey the full scope of the women's discoveries. An Afterword and Bibliography point the way to more information.
The text and stories are really hard to follow, both because of the actual size (geez, now I know I really need glasses) and type, as well as cursive, and because it is poorly worded and organized. I suppose readers of the comic book sort of style learn to follow it by deducing things from pictures...to me this book has zero "flow" and was tortuous reading.
It delves into Leaky's extramarital affairs briefly, which seems a bit inappropriate to me, it certainly doesn't contribute to the story and is presented in a - you know what I mean - sort of way "...he might have thought of her as more than a secretary...well I wasn't interested in THAT sort of thing". Let's hear about research and save the complexities of adult relationships for older readers.