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LOOKING FOR MIZA; The True Story of the Mountain Gorilla Family Who Rescued One of Their Own

Author: Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff and Dr. Paula Kahumbu

Illustrator: Peter Greste, photographer

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Publisher: Scholastic Inc., ´┐½2008

Material: hard cover

Summary: Miza, a mountain gorilla, is separated from her family. Her family searches for her. One day the rangers who keep an eye on the gorillas' activities notice that Miza is back but not her mother. They watch as the other members of Miza´┐½s family step up and help her whenever she needs it. This is a nonfiction story about an animal family.

Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 6 to 9

Reading Level: 6.6

Age of Child: Read with a girl who is 5 years old.

Young Reader Reaction: My daughter found this book interesting and enjoyed listening to me read. While she liked that Miza's family searches for her, she did not like that the mother gorilla does not make it back. She liked that the rangers identify the gorillas based on their noses and that they keep a journal with the drawings in them. She liked how the gorillas stay together.

Adult Reader Reaction: This book is very good and informative. I enjoyed reading the story. I was hoping my daughter would like it more, but she is a happy ending kind of reader. When the mother did not come back she decided she did not want to read it again.

Pros: This is a very informative book, yet it is easy for a young audience to follow along. The book has lots of great photography of the real gorillas.

Cons: Although the fact that Miza's mother doesn't return is "real life," it may be too much for some younger readers. For us, it took away from enjoying the story.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a must-have book for school and public libraries. For home reading, though, it is one you'd only share a couple of times.


Educational Themes: Great photography adds to your ability to explore this book, particularly the gorilla's habitat. Details about the ranger's activities also help expand a child's knowledge of that profession. For older/independent readers and teachers, there is information in the back that can be helpful for building additional natural science lessons.

Notes: The Reading Tub picked up this book at Book Expo America 2009 as part of a publisher/author giveaway.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - animals, nature

Date(s) Reviewed: July 2009

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