NONFICTION

Growing Up Gorilla: How a Zoo Baby Brought Her Family Together

Millbrook. Sept. 2019. 48p. glossary. index. photos. Tr $31.99. ISBN 9781541542402.
COPY ISBN
Gr 3-6–This winning nonfiction title offers a descriptive account of how a team of humans from Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo helped develop a bond between a mother gorilla and her baby. Generally, young gorillas learn best from watching and imitating members of their own species, but Nadiri the gorilla’s mother rejected her following a difficult birth. When Nadiri gave birth to her baby Yola and failed to immediately bond with her, staffers stepped in to temporarily care for the little one and diligently shape Nadiri’s bonding and mothering behaviors. Hodgson Meeker deftly conveys the humans’ concerns for these animals. Slow progress eventually led to success as Nadiri accepted and bonded with Yola. Full-color photographs of Nadiri, Yola, and their male gorilla protector Leo augment the text. Purple photo borders and captions printed on red backgrounds brighten the pages. The six short chapters include supplementary material set apart in boxes with info on surrogate animal parents, mothering, dens, gorilla smells, and more. Readers will also find a brief comparison of gorillas and humans, information on protecting gorillas around the world, a glossary, and list of resources.
VERDICT This handsomely packaged and sturdily bound volume provides an intriguing look at how a team of humans nurtured and saved a gorilla family

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