THE WATCHER: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps

What It Is

For more than 50 years, Jane Goodall has been an advocate for chimpanzees and their natural habitat. This new picture book tells about the early years of Jane’s lifelong passion. At the age of 26, she traveled to Africa to study animals and was given the opportunity to research chimpanzees by living among them in Tanzania. Living in the forest, she patiently (and bravely) watched the way chimpanzees lived and interacted with each other. They eventually came to trust her and allowed her to get close enough to see their every move. Her experience and compassion led her to launch a global campaign to stop people from destroying African forests and selling chimps to laboratories and other commercial enterprises. Even to this day, her life is devoted to educating people about the importance of preserving this endangered species and their natural habitat.

Why It’s Fun

Living in the wild might be a fun childhood fantasy, but Jane Goodall actually lived in a forest, which makes this story even more amazing and inspiring. Jeanette Winter tells Jane’s story in a light and interesting manner, accompanied by unique illustrations that almost bring the setting alive. At the end, she directs us to the Jane Goodall Institute’s web site, which is a great place to learn more about Jane’s work and has a terrific program geared to young people.

While this is a story about a woman who loved animals and became their protector, it is also a story about patience and understanding. Jane would not have had success with the chimps if she hadn’t accepted who they are and appreciated how they like to live. This is a valuable life lesson that is true for everyone. Equally as valuable is the message of Jane’s dedication to service. While we may not all have her vocation, everyone can act responsibly toward their environment and other living beings.

Who’s Going To Love It

Jane Goodall’s experience with chimps in Africa, and efforts to preserve them, is a fascinating story and worth a read by all. Kids outside the publisher’s recommended age range, both younger and older, would likely enjoy it. This is a terrific picture book and would make a wonderful gift for youngsters who love animals, especially those whose favorite zoo exhibit is the chimps!

Reading Time

About 5-6 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

8 out of 10

Book Information

THE WATCHER: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps
By: Written and Illustrated by Jeanette Winter
Published by: Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books (2011)
Approximate retail price: $17.99
Publisher’s recommended ages: 4 - 8

Comments

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