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Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas Hardcover – June 11, 2013
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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
“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
“Splendid.” ―The Miami Herald on Feynman
“Entertaining and informative.” ―Science on Feynman
“Lovely.” ―Newsday on Feynman
“Captures the jazzy flow of Feynman's life in its spare lines.” ―USA Today on Feynman
“These images capture with remarkable sensitivity the essence of Feynman's character. The comic-book picture somehow comes to life and speaks with the voice of the real Feynman.” ―Freeman Dyson, The New York Review of Books on Feynman
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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.