Breakfast in the Rainforest: A Visit with Mountain Gorillas
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Breakfast in the Rainforest: A Visit with Mountain Gorillas

by Richard Sobol, Leonardo DiCaprio
     
 

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A photographer shares a rare glimpse of mountain gorillas in the wild — and inspires readers to help protect them.

Powerful but shy, the African mountain gorilla struggles for survival in the rainforests of Uganda's national parks. Follow wildlife photographer Richard Sobol on an arduous journey to these hidden habitats and take a hushed, close-up look

Overview

A photographer shares a rare glimpse of mountain gorillas in the wild — and inspires readers to help protect them.

Powerful but shy, the African mountain gorilla struggles for survival in the rainforests of Uganda's national parks. Follow wildlife photographer Richard Sobol on an arduous journey to these hidden habitats and take a hushed, close-up look at the gentle giants as they nibble on leaves for their morning meal. Striking photographs of the little-seen ritual remind us of the wonders of this dwindling species, while a first-person narrative describes the photographer's journey — and tells of efforts being made to preserve these magnificent creatures.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Snow Wildsmith
Sobol, an American photographer, chronicles in words and photographs his experiences in the rainforests of Uganda. The mountain gorilla is one of the most critically endangered animals on the planet with only 650 to 700 of them living in the wild and none in captivity. The scarcity of the creatures makes Sobol's trip even more complicated. He recounts the process of buying very expensive tickets that allow him one hour on one day in which to see the gorillas. He also discusses the towns and villages that lay between the two gorilla preserves, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The main weakness in this book lies in its brevity. More background information on gorillas or Uganda would help readers get a better idea of life in this part of Africa. Greater detail about the unstable political climate in Uganda and the neighboring countries of Congo and Rwanda and its effect on the gorillas would be useful for reports. But the spare writing is open and engaging, with a freshness that neither talks down to readers nor seems forced. Sobol's photographs - the focus of the book - are moving and beautiful. This thin volume might be just the right choice for a reluctant reader looking for interesting nonfiction. Reviewer: Snow Wildsmith
Children's Literature - Leah Hanson
Richard Sobel's photography might be better known in publications such as Newsweek and National Geographic, but in this installment in the "Traveling Photographer" series, he turns his camera lens to the mountain gorillas of Africa. Written like a travel diary, Sobel takes his readers along for the ride, bumping along dusty roads, swatting mosquitoes and trekking through the rainforest in Uganda. When he finally spots his first gorilla among the vines and brush, his readers also wait in breathless anticipation. Turning the page, we see images of gentle creatures munching their breakfast and watching over their little ones. To build up to this moment, Sobel carefully explains how he researched and planned for his trip, what difficulties the gorillas face, and how the park rangers of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park work to protect these gentle giants. Without pushing a wildlife conservation agenda, Sobel compassionately describes how the gorillas' lives are being affected by tourism, human disease and war. An afterword by Leonardo DiCaprio emphasizes the importance of first comprehending the difficulties these animals face so that we can better understand how to protect them. Used either in the science classroom or in a study of travel writing, Sobel's prose and vivid photography act as discussion starters about our place in the world and our responsibility toward caring for its creatures. Reviewer: Leah Hanson
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6

Sobol takes readers along on his journey to central Africa in search of mountain gorillas. As he prepares for his encounter, he shares what he has learned about this critically endangered species. He weaves facts about their daily lives and social structure into his account. His photos of the people and landscapes near Bwindi National Park reveal the close proximity of human fields and villages to the mountainous area where the 650 gorillas live. Guided by park rangers who strictly limit visitor access to the gorilla area, Sobol slips on muddy paths, crawls over logs, and battles dense brush to find the huge creatures eating their leafy breakfast. His photos and commentary offer insightful observations of old and young gorillas on the ground and in the trees. He explains the photography techniques he used to capture various images. War, diseases, poaching, and habitat loss threaten the mountain gorillas, which cannot survive in captivity. The naturalist's admiration for the animals and the people working to protect them provides a personal perspective, which complements other titles that offer more straightforward, factual presentations.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Kirkus Reviews

Wildlife photographer Sobol treks into Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to photograph critically endangered mountain gorillas. A map sets the stage and Sobol's first-person narrative makes clear the challenges facing those who would see this reclusive species. Only about 650 mountain gorillas are alive today, preserved in wilderness parks on the borders of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. There is a hefty fee for visitor permits; an hour with a gorilla family supports many of the other activities of the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Sobol's photographs give readers an idea of the land and people he encounters on the bumpy eight-hour ride on mountain roads to the village near the park, and suggest his struggles through the forest. But the photo-album centerpiece of this chronicle is worth his effort: Mothers, children and impressive, full-grown silverback males stare out through the vegetation at the reader. Attractive design using a generic African pattern enhances the presentation. First in a planned Traveling Photographer series, this will delight armchair explorers and animal lovers. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763622817
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
10/14/2008
Series:
Traveling Photographer
Pages:
48
Product dimensions:
9.70(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
1180L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Richard Sobol took the photographs that illustrate CONSTRUCTION ZONE by Cheryl Willis Hudson. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.

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