Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: Primates (OT [not dogs] women scientists, ethology, jungle, chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan)

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas, by Jim Ottaviani (First Second, 2013, 139 pages, $20)

Who is Who/Whom?

Do you get Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey mixed up? Can’t tell a chimp from a gorilla from an orangutan?

Well, fear no more! This comic book (graphic novel) for adults is so entrancing you will never again forget Jane or Dian or even Birute Galdikas. Jane is the Trailblazer; Dian was the Conservator; and Birute, the Ambassador.

A Graphic Novel for Nerdy Girls and Everyone Else!

Primates is a hardcover, fairly long comic book for adults that is also for kids, especially nerdy ethology-loving kids or kids who want to be veterinarians, especially girls, since Jane and Dian and Birute were all girls, once upon a time. And especially for kids who have a stuffed chimp or gorilla or orang.

With color drawings reminiscent of Gary Trudeau of Doonesbury fame, Maris Wicks depicts Goodall younger than Fossey (as she was), shorter and with blond hair. Fossey’s strong personality, on the abrasive side, is made perfectly clear - though the cause of her death is not mentioned. We remember Sigourney Weaver’s portrayal of Fossey in the movie Gorillas in the Mist, however.

Louis Leakey, the archaeologist, selected all three young women at separate times for different animals and countries, and found funding for them to live in far-away places observing an exotic species – something every young girl dreams of, as well as obtaining her PhD like our three intrepid scientists.

Primates is a fun, educational book with adorable front and back cover illustrations, especially for all those readers who don’t want to grow up.

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