Victor Kelleher, Author Dial Books $15 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8037-0900-3
Jessica and David, whose respective parents work at a Central African research station, are drawn together by their concern for two of the experimented-upon animals. When David learns that the baboons Papio and Upi will soon be put to death, he and Jess free the beasts and lead them into the bush. After discovering that Papio and Upi cannot fend for themselves, the children take them further into the wilderness and introduce them into a troop of wild baboons. David and Jessica succeed so well that for a brief time they too become members of the baboon troop. With its thoughtful exploration of the border that separates humans from their primate cousins, Kelleher's story is reminiscent of Peter Dickinson's Eva , but without that novel's quirky individuality. While the baboons' social life is convincingly observed, the human characters--despite numerous asides concerning their emotional states--remain lifeless. The plot, also, is overloaded with coincidences. Still, the combination of accurate baboon lore, abundant adventure and a splendid evocation of the African countryside amply outweighs the novel's faults. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/1992
Release date: 10/01/1992
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