‘Hshh-shoo!’ sneezed Mum. She stopped by the guinea pig cage and blew her nose.
Leo looked up at her. His guinea pig looked up too, a shred of lettuce wedged between his teeth. Alan Nesbit Kirk twitched his whiskers. ‘Is hshh-shoo! the sound humans make when they are about to attack zombies, with swords?’
‘No,’ Leo signalled, hoping Mum didn’t wonder why he was twitching his nose at his guinea pig. ‘Mum doesn’t do swords. She just has a cold.’
‘Does she karate chop them instead?’ the guinea pig asked.
Leo can talk to animals. It’s a skill that’s could win friends at school, if no anyone believed you. But no one does. Except Mozz and her grandmother. In his first jet-flight adventure, he and sort-of-friend Mozz helped rescue some elephants. This time, gorillas are in danger from man diseases and Mozz and Leo are going to vaccinate them. In their quest to vaccinate all the gorillas, they encounter more than they expect. They are in a race to outrun poachers, and then there’s the dilemma of what to do with a sick baby gorilla. Leo isn’t convinced that he should be anywhere near Africa or enormous gorillas but Mozz makes it difficult for him to refuse to help.
‘Animal Rescue: Gorilla Grab’ is the second in Jackie French’s new series of chapter books. It blends real life animal conservation issues with wayout inventions and talking animals. The action proceeds almost faster than Mozz’s jet. On one level, these are wild and whacky adventures, but there are also very clear conservation messages and themes about fitting in, finding your own specialness and surviving at school. Every main character in ‘Animal Rescue: Gorilla Grab’ has their own talent, their own wackiness. There is a warning at the back about the plight faced by the endangered Mountain Gorillas, and some factual information about them. Recommended for confident independent readers.
Gorilla Grab, Jackie French
Scholastic Press 2012
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author