Who on Earth Is Dian Fossey?: Defender of the Mountain Gorillas (LIBRARY EDITION)

Who on Earth Is Dian Fossey?: Defender of the Mountain Gorillas (LIBRARY EDITION)

by Jill Menkes Kushner

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Of the ecologists in the "Scientists Saving the Earth" series, Dian Fossey may be one of the best known through her book, Gorillas in the Mist, and the film starring Sigourney Weaver. Fossey (1932—1985) started out as an occupational therapist with a love of animals. After hearing about a friend's trip she traveled to Africa, where she met Louis Leakey and saw, for the first time, mountain gorillas. Dr. Leakey later arranged for her to become the "gorilla girl," much as Jane Goodall was the well-publicized researcher of chimpanzees. In 1967 Fossey set up camp in the Congo but forced out by war, she relocated to Rwanda and began her fascinating studies of the mountain gorillas. Fossey's accomplishments were many: becoming the first human to have personal contact with a gorilla, earning her doctorate at Cambridge University, establishing an international fund for gorilla research, creating habituated groups of gorillas, and helping initiate laws to control poaching. Most of all, Fossey was a passionate advocate for the primates she loved so much. Problems abounded however, since she was responsible for destroying traps, she made many local and governmental enemies. In 1985, Fossey was murdered at her camp. A final chapter explores problems facing gorillas in the future (decline of population, loss of habitat, continued poaching, human diseases, and war). Readers are challenged to discuss Fossey's work and conduct further research, always considering the role of humans as they interact with other species. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
VOYA - Cheryl Clark
Part biography, part science textbook, this series presents the stories of six scientists whose pioneering work has helped preserve the natural world. In each volume, readers see how the scientists' love for nature was influenced early in life, what their jobs entailed, and how their work and advocacy has created lasting contributions to the scientific community and the environment. For example, the passionate efforts of Aldo Leopold resulted in the National Wildlife Refuge system today. Through primary sources, many of which come from the scientists' own writing a more immediate look at the scientists' life and work emerges, such as the poetic works of Rachel Carson, which won her fans long before the publication of her most famous and influential book, Silent Spring. Although the series includes some upper-level vocabulary, much of the scientific language is defined, such as the word "ecology," whose origin is clarified in the volume on Aldo Leopold. And with many color pictures, a large font, a short page count, and information on how kids can get involved, this series is most appropriate for a middle school audience and will be a useful reference for those doing research on environmental issues or scientists. Reviewer: Cheryl Clark
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—These books provide biographical information on scientists who made a positive impact on the planet. Fossey, Earle, and Carson are especially appropriate role models for readers interested in perusing careers in environmental science. The writing is clear and informative; the authors attempt to present the women's lives and work in highly engaging narratives, though they are occasionally bogged down by a recitation of factual information, perhaps included to make the books as research-friendly as possible. Color photographs are relevant and of good quality. Fossey provides suggestions for discussion and further investigation, and Carson includes a section on pursuing a career in environmental science and activism. All of the books do an excellent job of incorporating and documenting quotes and research from outside sources. Good choices for biography sections.—Lindsay Cesari, Baldwinsville School District, NY

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Product Details

Enslow Publishers, Incorporated
Publication date:
Scientists Saving the Earth Series
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

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