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Going Ape! by E. Bustos & L. Rodríguez

Bustos, Eduardo and Lucho Rodríguez. Going Ape! Toronto: Tundra Books, 2012. Print.

There are many playful stories about monkeys available for young children, so it’s an asset to have this non-fiction picture book for the same age group where the primates are depicted as they are in nature rather than as characters in a narrative. This is an English translation of a Spanish book originally published in 2004.

In two to three sentences, author Eduardo Bustos highlights a couple of unique points of interest for each of ten ape species. While jumping so quickly from one ape to another makes the text seem a little disjointed, the short length is appropriate for young readers. I appreciated that the work includes not just the commonly known apes like chimpanzees and gorillas, but also lesser known species like the Allen’s Swamp Monkey that has webbed feet! The text on the last page breaks from the format used previously; the full page highlights the variation that can be witnessed among the many ape species in the world in terms of size, coloring, and diet. Since the style already diverges significantly and seems aimed at a slightly older age group, I was left wanting more elaboration. For instance, following the statement, “It is interesting to learn about their habits,” I would have liked further details.

The illustrations are the best feature of the book. The stylized images capture the recognizable looks of the various species. Each is represented by a full-page illustration of the ape’s face, as well as a smaller image of the full ape in its natural habitat on the opposing page with the text. There are over 200 species of primates in the world. The title page depicts twelve different types of apes, so I was disappointed that descriptions of only ten were included. Overall, though, it provides a nicely illustrated introduction to the world of primates.

Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Trish Chatterley

Trish is a Public Services Librarian for the John W. Scott Health Sciences Library at the University of Alberta. In her free time she enjoys dancing, gardening, and reading books of all types.