Gorillas are our largest ape relatives. They are great apes, like humans, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. There are two species of gorilla, the Western Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) and Eastern Gorillas (Gorilla Beringei).
Gorillas are easily upset. They are the most emotionally sensitive and usually the most peaceful of all the great apes.
The world outside Africa only learned about gorillas in the mid-1800’s. Today, gorillas are only found in relatively small areas across the middle of the African continent, as shown in a world map. Their name comes from a Greek word meaning ‘tribe of hairy women’! Female gorillas can weigh almost 100 kg in the wild, and male gorillas almost double that. They live in family groups and use tools. Dr Dian Fossey first studied gorilla behaviour in the 1960’s. She set up a research centre in Rwanda, studying gorillas and trying to keep poachers away. Panels show the habitat, predators, neighbours of individual gorilla groups and also acknowledge the scientists who study/ied them. Fact boxes and information in different size fonts add details to the narrative.
The Gorilla Book balances getting to know these wonderful animals with providing information about how to help them survive. Gorillas are so closely related to humankind that our diseases threaten them too. Add that to habitat destruction and poachers and gorillas face a battle to survive. Scientists and conservationists are working with locals and farming groups to find ways for man and animal to live side-by-side. Children are faced with a great deal of information in all media about the challenges faced by our world. Providing accessible, interesting, factual information, such as is included in The Gorilla Book and other titles in the series, will not only help children to understand their world, but also to understand how they can help keep it diverse and viable. Recommended for early primary and beyond.
The Gorilla Book: Born to be Wild (Wild Planet), Dr Carla Litchfield
Black Dog Books 2009
this book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author