Chimp Math: Learning about Time from a Baby Chimpanzee


Learn about different ways to measure time by following the growth of a baby chimp

Late one night, a tiny chimpanzee is born at a zoo in Kansas. He seems very weak, and the staff is worried. Will he survive? When the mother shows no interest in her baby, a pediatrician comes in to care for the little chimp. The baby grows strong and healthy, and soon he is big enough to be moved to the Denver Zoo. He is named Jiggs after the doctor who saved ...

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Chimp Math: Learning about Time from a Baby Chimpanzee

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Learn about different ways to measure time by following the growth of a baby chimp

Late one night, a tiny chimpanzee is born at a zoo in Kansas. He seems very weak, and the staff is worried. Will he survive? When the mother shows no interest in her baby, a pediatrician comes in to care for the little chimp. The baby grows strong and healthy, and soon he is big enough to be moved to the Denver Zoo. He is named Jiggs after the doctor who saved him.

Jiggs is a lot like human babies. He wears diapers. He plays with his toys. He loves his pets. And he learns all kinds of new skills as he gets older.

Follow Jiggs as he grows from a wobbly infant to a wild and wonderful toddler. Along the way you can learn about clocks, calendars, time lines, and other ways of keeping time records.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
When his mother refused to care for him, zoo officials were forced to place Jiggs the chimp in the animal nursery of the Denver zoo. There he was put under the daily care of Cindy Bickell. She even took him home at night. Thanks to Cindy, Jiggs' infancy was like that of most human babies, with regular feedings, toys, and plenty of affection. He sucked his thumb at two months, took his first step at five months, and walked at ten months. There are snapshots of him wrestling with the dog, teasing the cat, and celebrating his first birthday. Unfortunately, independence comes early to chimpanzees and, at sixteen months, Jiggs was moved from his human habitat into the primate pen. He was miserable. So, probably, was Cindy. The emotional tie between humans and our nearest animal cousins is rich ground for a book, and the characters in this one would make an unforgettable story. Extraordinary questions arise. What is the crucial distinction between humans and chimps that makes it possible to put chimp babies in zoos? How is loving a chimp different from loving a human child? These questions are fundamental and fascinating to children. Unfortunately, rather than exploring them, the authors included an odd collection of mostly unconnected math on yellow facing pages. While there is no question that timelines and graphs could convey useful information in this story, and that math was essential to saving Jiggs, these pages are obviously extraneous, and separating the math from the main story creates an annoyingly pedantic tone. As it stands, this is not a particularly bad book, so much as a lost opportunity for a great one. 2002, Henry Holt and Company,
— Michael Chabin
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-Frail and ignored by his mother, baby Jiggs is kept in an incubator at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, KS, and then moved to the Denver Zoo, where he is raised by veterinary assistant and coauthor Bickel. The details of the chimp's young life will fascinate readers. His funny and touching relationships with Bickel's dog, his ability to communicate, and his playful nature are well documented via clear, full-color photos. The book is set up so that one can read the text on the right-hand pages and simply learn Jiggs's story. The left-hand pages offer explanations of the time lines, charts, clocks, and calendars that were used to measure and record the animal's growth and development, and teachers will be able to use them to enhance math units. The time lines, in particular, illuminate the narrative and can lead to classroom projects. Youngsters will smile all the way through this engaging story that has many practical applications as well.-Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this peek into the care of zoo babies, readers will learn not only about chimpanzees, but will also reinforce their math skills. In a split-page format, the reader views pictures and text about Jiggs and his growth on the right-hand pages. His story begins with his birth as a scrawny and weak baby. When his mother ignores him, he's placed in an incubator and cared for by a human baby doctor. As he gains strength, he spends his days in the zoo nursery and his nights at the home of Cindy, a veterinary assistant. He's later joined in the nursery by Giorgio, a jaguar cub whom he helps to care for, feed, and keep safe. As he grows older, though, he is placed back among chimpanzees. This ecological message is an important one--zoo animals are still wild animals and not pets. Left-hand pages present the math--visuals that show a graph of Jiggs's weight gain, a timeline of his feeding schedule, the daily charts Cindy keeps of his naps, snacks, and activities, and a chart comparing Jiggs to wild chimps in the achievement of certain milestones: climbing up a branch, combing another's fur, etc. These pages do not simply repeat information from the storyline. Readers use the math presented in order to learn more about chimps--an excellent educational method. The authors also explain how time is told, why charts are useful tools, and how graphs are read, and introduce children to a time-related vocabulary. Readers will certainly be struck by the amazing similarity between chimp and human babies. Nagda (Snake Charmer, p. 663, etc.) has done it once again, combining multiple disciplines and teaching in a non-threatening, as-you-need-it manner. Great for a future Jane Goodall and a wonderful teachingtool for elementary teachers. (Nonfiction. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805066746
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 28
  • Sales rank: 781,695
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.37 (w) x 10.24 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Ann Whitehead Nagda is the author of Tiger Math: Learning to Graph from a Baby Tiger, as well as several other books about wildlife. Ms. Nadga lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and her cat.

Cindy Bickel has worked at the Denver Zoo for more than thirty years. Ms. Bickel helped write Tiger Math: Learning to Graph from a Baby Tiger and Klondike and Snow: The Denver Zoo's Remarkable Story of Raising Two Polar Bear Cubs.

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