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My Life with the Chimpanzees

My Life with the Chimpanzees

4.1 22
by Jane Goodall

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From the time she was a girl, Jane Goodall dreamed of a life spent working with animals. Finally she had her wish. When she was twenty-six years old, she ventured into the forests of Africa to observe chimpanzees in the wild. On her expeditions she braved the dangers with leopards and lions in the African bush. And she got to know an amazing group of wild chimpanzees


From the time she was a girl, Jane Goodall dreamed of a life spent working with animals. Finally she had her wish. When she was twenty-six years old, she ventured into the forests of Africa to observe chimpanzees in the wild. On her expeditions she braved the dangers with leopards and lions in the African bush. And she got to know an amazing group of wild chimpanzees -- intelligent animals whose lives, in work and play and family relationships, bear a surprising resemblance to our own.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
Over the course of several decades Jane Goodall has dedicated herself to the study of animal behavior with a particular focus on the lives of chimpanzees. Because of the fascinating discoveries that have flowed from this work, Dr. Goodall remains one of the most illustrious scientific researchers in the field of primate studies. Beyond her seminal research, Dr. Goodall has shown the world that the lives of chimpanzees, and many other animals, are complicated and full of value. For Dr. Goodall all life is valuable and worthy of being treated with dignity, kindness, and consideration. These values ring true both in her work and in her writing. My Life with the Chimpanzees traces her experiences from childhood to the present and how they have shaped her life's work. This book was originally published over twenty years ago and its reissuance serves as a testimonial to the powerful global impact that her work has had upon the study of animal behavior. In this autobiographical work Dr. Goodall shows how her love for working with animals led to a lifelong study of specific species, their communication patterns, and the social structure of their lives. At a time when global environmental issues threaten the well-being of so many species, Dr. Goodall's words serve as a powerful reminder of how important it is to treat all life with dignity. Further, by reaching out to and inspiring young people through her words, deeds, and beliefs, Dr. Goodall's message remains as urgent as it has ever been. This is an inspirational book and one that youngsters will greatly benefit from. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
So enthusiastically does Goodall relate the first 28 years of her life in the jungles of Tanzania that her odyssey appears to have just begun. The story of her life with the chimpanzees of Gombe has long been available to adults; in this book she brings that world to young readers and may very well inspire them to follow in her footsteps.The book begins with tales of her childhood in England and her earliest awareness of the needs of animals, her friendship with Louis Leakey and her trip with her motherto the first camp at Gombe. Goodall talks of the sacrifices of living as she hasher first marriage ended in divorce, and she sees her family (including her son Grub) infrequently. Stories of the chimps dominate the bookthey threaten to steal the show in many instances; readers will love meeting these personable animals. And because anecdotes about the chimps bear rereading, an index or other means of looking up a particular fact would have been a bonus. Ages 8-12. (March)
Library Journal
Noted scientist and conservationist Goodall provides listeners with stories about her life and her experiences studying chimpanzees in Africa. She talks about her first exposure to animals at a farm near her home and how the book Dr. Doolittle helped crystallize her desire. Later Goodall comments on her first trip to the continent and how meeting Dr. Louis Leakey led to her life's work, living among the animals, learning their behaviors, and bringing that information to the rest of the world. Though this tape starts out as an autobiography, it focuses mostly on the work of the Goodall Institute and "Roots and Shoots," organizations created to encourage the protection of animals and their habitats. The author reads her own tale and seems sort of detached even when discussing her interest in saving the world's animals. The book also lacks depth, glossing over Goodall's life and telling her story simply, which could make this tedious listening for adults. For public and school libraries. Danna Bell-Russel, Library of Congress Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6 Goodall's autobiography pre sents a fascinating insight into her per sonal life, her research, and her philos ophy. A major part of the book covers her work at the Gombe Stream Research Center in Tanzania and includes observations of a chimp family through several generations. Many of the pho tographs from this period were taken by her first husband, Hugo van Lawick. Their son, Grub, is a focal point of many of her anecdotes about life in the camp at Gombe. Goodall completes her story by encouraging young people to nurture an interest in nature, giving ad vice on how to observe animals and stressing the importance of preserving wildlife. Her autobiography reflects on the importance of friends and family and the need for humans to coexist with nature. The writing flows smoothly, and the progression of stories blends well to present to readers a sincere, al though sometimes sentimental, human being. Cynthia M. Sturgis, Ledding Library, Milwaukie, Oreg.

Product Details

Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.50(d)
910L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter 1

It was very stuffy and hot where I crouched, and the straw tickled my legs. There was hardly any light, either. But I could see the bird on her nest of straw. She was about five feet away from me, on the far side of the chicken house, and she had no idea I was there. If I moved I would spoil everything. So I stayed quite still. So did the chicken.

Presently, very slowly, she raised herself from the straw. She was facing away from me and bending forward. I saw a round white object gradually protruding from the feathers between her legs. It got bigger. Suddenly she gave a little wiggle and — plop! — it landed on the straw. I had actually watched the laying of an egg.

With loud, pleased clucks, the chicken shook her feathers, moved the egg with her beak, then proudly strutted her way out of the henhouse.

I tumbled out, stiff but excited, and ran all the way to the house. My mother was just about to call the police. She had been searching for me for hours. She had no idea that I had been crouched all that time in the henhouse.

This was my first serious observation of animal behavior. I was five years old. How lucky it was that I had an understanding mother! Instead of being angry because I had given her a scare, she wanted to know all about the wonderful thing I had just seen.

Even though I was so young at the time, I can still remember a lot about that experience. I remember being puzzled about eggs. Where on a chicken was there an opening big enough for an egg to come out? I don't know if I asked anyone. If I did, no one told me. I decided to find out for myself. I remember thinking as I watched a hen going into one of the henhouses, "Ah, now I'll follow her and see what happens." And I remember how she rushed out, squawking in alarm, when I squeezed in after her. Obviously that was no good. I would have to get in first and wait until a hen decided to come in and lay her egg. That is why I was so long inside the henhouse. You have to be patient if you want to learn about animals.

When I grew up I became an ethologist — a long word that simply means a scientist who studies animal behavior. Most people, when they think of an animal, think of a creature with hair, such as a dog or cat, a rabbit or a mouse, a horse or a cow. In fact, the word animal includes all living creatures except for plants. Jellyfish and insects, frogs and lizards, fish and birds are all animals just as cats and dogs are. But cats and dogs and horses are mammals, a special kind of animal. Humans are mammals, too.

You probably know all that. Children today know a lot more about these sorts of things than most adults did when I was your age. I remember having a huge argument with one of my aunts when I tried to make her believe that a whale was a mammal, not a fish. She wouldn't believe me and I cried. I was so frustrated.

Copyright © 1988, 1996 by Byron Preiss Visual Publications, Inc.

Meet the Author

JANE GOODALL was born in London on April 3, 1934 and grew up in Bournemouth, on the southern coast of England. In 1960 she began studying chimpanzees in the wild in Gombe, Tanganyika (now Tarzania). After receiving her doctorate in ethology at Cambridge University, Dr. Goodall founded the Gombe Stream Research Center for the study of chimpanzees and baboons. In 1975 she established the Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife Research, Education, and Conservation to promote animal research throughout the world.

Dr. Goodall is well known for her contributions to several stunning National Geographic films and has written six books for adults, including the bestseller In the Shadow of Man.

She has been named Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II and has received many awards, including the prestigious Kyoto Prize in Basic Science and the National Geographic Society's Hubbard Award, for distinction in research, exploration, and discovery.

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My Life with the Chimpanzees 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My Life with Chimpanzees was a good book in the beginning because she described her adventures with the chimps (and bush babies). Jane taught us alot about animal cruelty and the life of the animals that are suffering in Africa. I would not recomend this book to anyone who is easily bored and is looking for a fun, thrilling, and funny book (although the pictures were very cute!). In the end it gets very repetitive. It was more of an instruction manual then a story. The last quarter was ideas of helping the envirorment geared to little children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was the BEST biography I have ever read. I liked it so much because it was more like a novel instead of a biography. The book helped me learn what Jane Goodall really went through in order to become the person that she is today. It was very interesting to read about how she could not to the Chimpanzee National Park for such along time due to all of the revolts that were going on at the time. It was also very interesting in the way that Jane Goodall described all of the animals that she saw, like the leopard and the chimpanzees and the bush baby! This was a very exciting read for me and I would recommend it to anyone who needs a short, but great biography to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Imagine yourself being in Africa, in the morning, when a chimpanzee comes up out of the bushes and start to walk towards you, not angrily, not frightened, just content.  Then imagine the chimp standing in front of you and puts out their hand.  This is what Jane Goodall experienced in her memoir My Life With The Chimpanzees .  The memoir is about her her life starting when she was young all the way to her being famous enough to give lectures to people.  When she was young she lived in England during World War II, but it have much of an impact on her.  When Jane got out of college, she realized she had a passion for animals, so Jane got a job that eventually landed her in Africa.  While she was in Africa her colleagues searched for fossilized remnants of ancient people, but Jane soon found the living chimps of today more exciting.  So she stayed after her Colleagues left and moved to the jungle areas to research chimps.  Her findings soon made her famous and she began to travel around the world to give lectures.  Anyone could tell Jane Goodall is a scientist; for her large vocabulary, excellent variety of sentences, and interesting imagery created a very serious style that lasts throughout the book. I enjoyed this book because I am a lover of all primates, and learned so much about them in the book. Recommended for boy and girls wanting a career dealing with animals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An entertaining book. It kept me interested throughout, and at times, i forget i was reading a biography, rather i was reading a novel about an extraordinary woman with a passion for animal studies. She devoted her life to chimpanzees and this book shows it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My Life With The Chimpanzees is a good book that I would recommend to anyone who would like to become an ethologist or likes chimpanzees.It is about Jane Goodal, in her point of view, and how she became interested in Africa and chimpanzees. It is a book that I liked very much and beleive you should read too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the best book I have read about chimpanzees.It has some great facts and alot of details about them and the author.If you like cimpanzees you really need to check this book out at your nearest school or local library.Maybe someday you will go to Africa like Jane Goodall did.The first time I read this book was in my reading class in the sixth grade.All of my friends and classmates enjoyed it.At some points of the book was funny. I hope you read it and enjoy it very good.I really liked it!Please check this out and I guarantee that you will enjoy this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everyone knows that feeling of success, victory, or accomplishment; you start to sprout out of that hard shell and face towards the warmth of the beaming, bright light of the horizon. Two things I liked about the book, was how she used a man who studied and cared for ducks as a hook. The other thing that I like about Jane Goodall’s memoir: My Life with the Chimpanzees, was how she expressed how the wild chimpanzees piqued her interest, and this made her want to know more. One thing that I disliked was how she gave the chimpanzees weird names. I would recommend other readers to read My Life with the Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall, because she has an interesting childhood history and adventure as an adult. However, I would especially highly recommend it to readers who like animals and adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book served as a great and informative book soure for my science project on Jane Goodall.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome. Best atobiography ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
philo More than 1 year ago
My 9 year old daughter used this book for a class presentation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a good book but it got boring at parts like at the end she was talking about the environment and stuff that didn't really go along with the story. I got bored with it after a while and I was happy to finish it. Otherwise, it was pretty good, but parts just could of been more exciting for kids.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a very interesting book, if you like biography and monkey books. It is about a woman who goes to Gombe and stays there for a while, studying chimps. She tries to find out all she can about chimp behavior. If you don't really like biographies or monkeys then it might not be your kind of book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is pretty good.Jane Goodall wanted to be someone who wanted to watch animals.one day she went to Africa to watch chimpeezs.the chimps finally got used to her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think the book I picked was a very good book. It was a true story of Jane Goodall's life when she went to Gombe,Africa.She had a good job in Africa, she loved to watch the chimpanzees in the jungle. She played with the chimpanzees and discoverd and amazed by what they do.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hi, my name is Chris Barnett,and I live in Pottsboro,T.X. I think that this book is the best autobiography I have ever read. I like this book beacuse it is suspenceful, has action in it ,and it is a good adventuer book.I am inspired of how she lived her life and all the chimps she saved.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is really cool because it talks about animals and i like animals,mainly chimpanzees!! I know alot of people that like animals and studing them.If you like that sort of thing,then you should read this book because it is great!I want a monkey myself, my parents won't let me get one. If you are aloud to get one,take the oppertunity and get one!!Also if you have the oppertunity to get the book you should bye that too! You will like it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was great . I think every one should read this book. It is not only about her and chimpanzees but also how she started liking chimpanzees and other animals.Personally I love chimpanzees, so I was very interested in the book.If you Love chimpanzees you will love this book.If you see this book in a store window dont forget to go in and look at it atleast , but you could also buy it. Its great !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was the best book in the whole world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!