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Children's LiteratureBeginning with a double page spread defining an ape, the book proceeds to explore gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, bonobos, and gibbons as wild apes. Monkeys are covered in the second half (over 130 species) with following pages helping readers to separate monkeys from apes. Along the way, the text explains getting food, staying healthy, useful anatomy such as rump pads, prehensile tales, fur type, thumb-and-finger hand, and so forth. While the photographs are varied and clear, they often miss the chance to educate readers further: a prehensile tale is mentioned and defined on a page in which no tails are visible, let alone in use as "tails that can grip tightly." While text begins with "You are one!" (an ape), no human-ape comparison picture is evident. The text organization does not help readers differentiate among sets and subsets, family and specie. But that aside, Taylor does a very good job of conveying the diversity and amazing features this group uses to get around, eat, protect, communicate, and survive. One touching photo shows an orphaned baby orangutan clinging to a worker's leg as he pours water on it to cool it off. Three projects are offered: a clever monkey chain; termite towers from which a child removes an M&M "termite" by suction with a straw; and a flat monkey mask which, perhaps, clever readers can make more three-dimensional with a little paper manipulation. An index is included in this useful and informative entry in the "Kingfisher Young Knowledge" series. 2004, Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin, Ages 6 to 11.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.