Looking for Miza: The True Story of the Mountain Gorilla Family Who Rescued One of Their Own

Craig M. Hatkoff, Author, Juliana Lee Hatkoff, Author, Isabella Hatkoff, Author , photos by Peter Greste. Scholastic $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-08540-3

Adding to their books about animals who respond to dire situations with inspiring behavior, the Hatkoffs (Owen and Mzee ) team with the conservation director of Wildlife Direct, Kahumbu, to describe how a 31-member mountain gorilla family mobilizes itself to rescue and then raise Miza, orphaned under mysterious circumstances before she is two. The story is more ambitious than any the Hatkoffs have previously told, and they only partly fulfill their crowded agenda: explaining the dynamics of a gorilla family and the needs of the young; explaining the role of park rangers; and explaining the danger of extinction (the mountain gorillas of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Miza's family lives, make up 380 of the world's 700 remaining mountain gorillas, and they are threatened by poachers, people who steal coal or lumber from the park, and militias). The photos vary in quality: a few are crisp, but sections of a number of photos look bleached out. Kids will feel the emotional impact, but they will also hear the authors straining: “[Miza's story] also reminds us of the adage, 'Seek and ye shall find,' ” they conclude. “And that is the true story of looking for Miza.” Ages 7–up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/06/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
Genre: Children's
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