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Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall

Review

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall

Fascinated by wild animals and their habitats from an early age, Jane Goodall longed for the day that she could travel to Africa to meet and communicate with them. It was not until her early 20s that Jane's dream is fulfilled --- she is invited to stay in Kenya for six months. Determined not to leave, Jane finds work as a secretary for famed scientist Louis Leakey until he expresses a need for someone to study the great apes. Jane jumps at this "chance to live with and learn about not just any animal but the one most like us, the chimpanzee." Amid her trials and triumphs, Goodall has no idea that her research will turn into epic historical and groundbreaking work in the study of animals and their similarities to humans.

Silvey incorporates a marvelous combination of stunning photographs and additional text to give young readers a well-rounded look at Goodall's world.

The author of several award-winning narrative nonfiction books for children, Anita Silvey unfolds the unforgettable legacy of how one girl’s love for animals changed the world in UNTAMED: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall. Silvey's narrative deftly captures the essence of Goodall's journey, which begins as a few-months venture to find and observe the elusive chimpanzees in the Gombe Stream Game Reserve (now known as Gombe National Park in Tanzania) but evolves into a 55-year period of research, "one of the longest continuous field studies of wild animals ever conducted."

While retelling Goodall's life story, Silvey incorporates a marvelous combination of stunning photographs and additional text to give young readers a well-rounded look at Goodall's world. Examples include information on Louis Leakey, Goodall's African pets, other animals of Gombe, individual profiles on various chimpanzees that Goodall named and observed, Goodall's field notes and information on those who carried on Goodall's mission when she began speaking around the world. Silvey also zeroes in on Goodall's activism in wildlife conservation and educating the public. In particular, Silvey raises awareness to Goodall's Roots and Shoots program that "builds on the legacy and vision of Dr. Jane Goodall to place the power and responsibility for creating practical solutions to big challenges in the hands of the young people."

Closing with a timeline, maps and a slew of resources for further research, UNTAMED is not only a captivating and eye-opening read, but also a reminder for young and old alike that, as Jane fittingly puts it, "together we can make the world a better place for all living things."

Reviewed by Anita Lock on May 15, 2015

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall
by Anita Silvey and Jane Goodall

  • Publication Date: June 9, 2015
  • Genres: Biography, Science
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books
  • ISBN-10: 142631518X
  • ISBN-13: 9781426315183