Jim Ottaviani strikes again.
29 July 2013
I don't read as much science nonfiction as I should, I'll admit.
This is a puzzler, because I have liked almost all of the few science books I have plowed through over the years. I think I have to be in the right mood and the right place mentally--science nonfiction, even popular science nonfiction, seems to demand a bit more attention and reading in longer chunks of time than I often have these days. But when I find a short science title by an author I have always enjoyed...I bring it right home.
A case in point last week was Jim Ottaviani's (and Maris Wicks's) young adult graphic novel Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas. When I saw this on the shelf on the library, I got all excited; I love Jim Ottaviani. I'm not a huge reader of graphic nonfiction but Ottaviani's artwork is easy to follow and his treatment of often complicated scientific precepts (and biography of scientists, often complicated individuals in their own rights) is clear enough that even I can grasp most of what he's explaining.
In this short volume, Ottaviani and his co-author Wicks provide brief overviews of the lives, educations, and work of primate naturalists and scientists Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas (of whom I'd never even heard before picking up this book). The book is under 140 pages long, so you can imagine that most of the discussion of their work among the animals, and their very differing personalities, is superficial at best. So although the book left me vaguely unsatisfied, I do think it functioned well as a great introduction to primate science and three fascinating women. It left me wanting more, which all really great books do (I think), and provides a very nice bibliography if you're inclined to go find more to read on these subjects.