As an aspiring children’s book author, I am now ready to throw in the towel. I was okay when the king of artist biographies, Mike Venezia, moved into biographies of musicians. I started to get a little uneasy when he began to tackle the presidents. Now I have found out Mr. Venezia has a new “Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Inventors and Scientists” series. He is just too much competition, I’m afraid. I’m calling it quits.
This weekend I found a copy of Jane Goodall: Researcher Who Champions Chimps at the library. If you are familiar with Mike Venezia’s previous books, you will immediately recognize the winning formula here. Interspersed with pages of the typical biographical information and photographs are lighthearted stories of things Jane Goodall did as a child, illustrated with funny cartoons.
Most children find the less-serious approach very appealing, and these books are wonderful for reluctant readers. Adults shouldn’t be fooled though, this book does an excellent job of covering the essentials of Jane Goodall’s life. One can’t help being inspired by an eager young secretary who goes to Africa in search of adventure and ends up a famous ethologist and world authority on chimpanzees.
A perfect fit for any library, this book is sure to attract readers.
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Library Binding: 32 pages
Publisher: Children’s Press (March 2010)
On the same day, I also found Termites on a Stick by Michele Coxon, which would make a fine companion to the Jane Goodall book.
In this case, the illustrations caught my eye. The chimpanzees that Jane Goodall studied take center stage. The story follows a little chimp as he learns the important skill of using a stick as a tool to fish for termites. This is one of the first interesting behaviors that Jane Goodall discovered.
The book includes a page of chimpanzee facts and detailed illustrations of a chimps hands and feet, as well as the inside of a termite mound.
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Star Bright Books (May 1, 2009)
If you are interested in learning more about Jane Goodall, try Meet A Scientist: Jane Goodall at Growing With Science today. If you want to see more about how chimps and gorillas feed on ants, check Wild About Ants.