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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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Reading this book you will get an introduction to Louis Leakey, the famed fossil hunter of east Africa. Unconventional and an outsider to the anthropological community, he was long disregarded and looked down on from their ivory towers. Between some spectacular discoveries, his flair as a showman, and the world stage offered him by the National Geographic Society, he became the public face of paleoanthropology. This led to great public interest in the topic, but probably also led to Leakey being overvalued by the public as the key figure in the area.
Leakey understood that to understand people and our ancestry we also needed to understand our closest relatives. Thus he recruited or sponsored Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas. Each made breakthroughs in our understanding of their respective apes, but this book is more about their stories than their discoveries. Some key discoveries are mentioned, but I would have liked this book to offer a little larger window into our relatives.
These women's stories are interesting and inspiring. Until I read them juxtaposed in this book it hadn't occurred to me how the personality of each somewhat mirrored the ape she studied. Goodall seems the best able to move from the field into the public eye, and she studied the very social chimpanzees. Fossey, who became a fierce protector of gorillas, eventually being killed in her quest to save them, most likely by someone her efforts had caused problems for, studied gorillas, who live in small groups which fiercely protect their own. Galdikas, who has stayed more out of the limelight, choose the reclusive orangutans.
This is a quick to read, nicely illustrated introduction to three remarkable women and "their" apes. With luck, it will inspire some readers to read the books they, themselves, wrote. "Primates" should be accessible to a young teen, while still being interesting to an adult.
I was provided a copy for review by the publisher, but have purchased a copy of the final version for a niece.
* Bonobos used to be viewed as a subspecies of chimpanzees, but are now considered a separate, but closely related, species, so we now recognize four other species of great apes.