Thursday, June 11, 2015

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey

I love Jane Goodall. I love Anita Silvey. And I love National Geographic Kids.  So, UNTAMED:  THE WILD LIFE OF JANE GOODALL was a book that I HAD to preorder so that I had it the minute it was available!  I am so glad I did! I spent much of last evening reading this amazing book!

I don't think there can ever be enough books about Jane Goodall. She is one of my very favorite people to read about.  Even though I have no desire to work outside or to do anything close to the kind of work Jane Goodall does, I see Jane's story as one that invites all of us to make a difference in the work in a way that matches who we are and what our passions are.   I am fascinated by so much of her work--how she discovered her passion, how her passion evolved, how she changed so much about the ways that animals are observed and that she continues to have such a strong voice in the world.

Here are some of the things I loved:

-The foreword is by Jane Goodall and she tells a bit about her life and then gives a personal invitation to join Roots and Shoots.  It is a great message to readers and a great way to begin this book.

-The photos in the book make me happy.  There are some that I've seen before and others that were new to me.

-The book is chronological and starts with Jane's childhood with some facts I already knew from other books and movies. But there were new stories and I felt like I got to know Jane Goodall a bit better--what her childhood was like and how supportive her mother was in her life.

-I loved the chapter on Gombe and the work there but I mostly loved how well the book explains how and why Jane Goodall really has become a celebrity and why her work is so important. I think for young readers, the writing will allow them to see the impact of her work and also understand why it matters.

-There was a section about how scientific observation has changed since Jane Goodall was in Gombe and how technology has made things easier and more efficient.

-There was lots about the Chimpanzees and their personalities and the book includes a Gombe Family Scrapbook at the end--sharing some info about several of the chimps Jane knew.

-The book expanded on what I already knew about Jane and spent lots of time talking about her current work with animals and the environment.  It was interesting to read about the work she is doing to protect chimpanzees being used for research as well as those in zoos.

I really LOVED this book and I think kids will too.  This book was longer than I expected which made me happy.  I am thinking it is perfect for 4th through 8th graders. But I think it definitely has a place in my 3rd grade classroom.   The photos will draw children in but the writing will is done in a way that makes the work of Jane Goodall accessible to young readers. So excited about this book!


  1. Like you, I love Jane Goodall. I was fortunate enough to hear her speak when she visited my college long ago. I definitely want to check this book out. Thanks for the review.

  2. I told my husband today that I needed to increase my book budget as I get ready for a 5th grade classroom. This is going on my list. I may need to get a job this summer to pay for everything I want. lol

  3. This sounds like a great book for a classroom. Students tend to enjoy biographies, especially ones that include animals! Thank you for sharing this!


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