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The Watcher


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About the Author

JEANETTE WINTER has written and illustrated almost 50 books for children, including Diego (a New York Times Best Illustrated Book, Parents' Choice Award winner, and Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies), Emily Dickinson's Letters to the World (New York Times Notable Book, Parents' Choice Silver Medal), The Librarian of Basra (ALA Notable Book), My Name Is Georgia (Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, ALA Notable, Booklist Editors' Choice), and Mama (Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, Society of Illustrators Silver Medal). Her art with flat colors and perspectives in the folk art tradition have brought her many honors.


Gr 1-3-Watching is an apt theme for this picture-book introduction to Goodall's notable studies of chimpanzees. Drawing on the scientist's autobiographical writing, Winter begins with five-year-old Jane watching egg-laying in the henhouse. The childhood years of animal watching and finding inspiration in books such as Dr. Dolittle and Tarzan move quickly into Goodall's adult travel to Africa and meeting Louis Leakey. The long, often solitary years as a watcher of chimps are the main focus, succinctly described and depicted in wide, stylized acrylic paintings suggesting the expansive forest terrain. "Now Jane watched every day, all day-even huddled in the rain. She saw the chimps accept the rain, not look for shelter, as we do. And she kept notes about it all." Goodall's great piles of notes filling her tent are among many bits of humor tucked into the spare scenes. Her childhood is the subject of Patrick McDonnell's Me...Jane (Little, Brown, 2011). Children who are already independent readers will be intrigued by The Watcher's hard-earned encounters with the chimps. This more fulsome account closes with Goodall's world travels to speak out about saving the chimps, a timely note touching today's environmental concerns. As in The Librarian of Basra (Harcourt, 2005) and other biographies, Winter takes readers to a far part of the world in an appealing story for children who love animals or like books about real people.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Starred Review, Booklist, March 1, 2011:
"An author's note rounds out this beautiful celebration of one of the world's most influential animal advocates." Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2011:
"This gorgeous, accessible biography allows young readers to absorb the significance of Jane's tireless research, her groundbreaking discoveries and important work protecting Africa's land and animals."

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