Threatened

Eliot Schrefer. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-545-55143-4
Schrefer switches focus from bonobos to chimpanzees in this engrossing, meticulously researched, and gripping tale of survival in the deep wilds of Gabon, a thematic follow-up to 2012’s Endangered. Luc, a 13-year-old orphan and debt slave, is hired by Prof, who wants to become the first African “janegoodall,” and the two venture into the jungle to study the chimpanzees that dwell within. When tragedy strikes, Luc is left alone, forced to survive by any means necessary. Forging a tentative truce with a small family of chimpanzees, he ekes out a desperate though increasingly satisfying existence. As man and “mock man” grow to understand one another, they take on all manner of threats, including human hunters, animal predators, and even another chimpanzee tribe. Schrefer’s passion for the material and empathy for the characters shows on every page, and his non-human subjects are every bit as complex and fascinating as narrator Luc. The setting comes fully to life, and Schrefer pulls no punches as he showcases the beauty and danger of both urban Gabon and the jungle. Ages 12–up. Agent: Richard Pine, InkWell Management. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/2013
Release date: 02/25/2014
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