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Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  6,613 ratings  ·  735 reviews
Jim Ottaviani returns with an action-packed account of the three greatest primatologists of the last century: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. These three ground-breaking researchers were all students of the great Louis Leakey, and each made profound contributions to primatology—and to our own understanding of ourselves.

Tackling Goodall, Fossey, and Galdikas
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by First Second
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  6,613 ratings  ·  735 reviews

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Start your review of Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gn
So many mixed feelings about this book.

I'll start with the good:
Yay! Women scientists! At times funny and fascinating. I learned things. I had no idea that Louis Leakey helped secure the funding for Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall and got them their starts in field research. I had never heard of Galdikas or her research with Orangutans. I learned about their significant findings that shook the scientific world: chimpanzees using tools and orangutans walking on the ground. The significance of thei
First Second Books
Jun 11, 2013 marked it as first-second-publications
One of the questions that we frequently get asked about this book is: is it nonfiction?

The answer is: it’s difficult to tell!

Primates is ostensibly a nonfiction biography about three different women who work with primates – Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas. It tells about their lives and their work, and the author and the illustrator both did a lot of research and endeavored to be as faithful as possible to the historical realities of their subjects.

So, why is it difficult to tell
This is similar to Charlie's Angels if they were scientists. Louis, a scientist enlists the help of 3 brilliant women to study great primates. They go out and become part of the primate pack and bring back lots of data. The 3 women weave in and out together from time to time. The story is mostly told in 3 parts and each women gets a part.

Jane Goodall is recruited first to study chimps.
Dian Fossey is next to study Gorillas and if you have seen the 80s movie Gorillas in the Mist go see it now and
Primates is an ambitious book that largely succeeds at giving a "slice of life" look to three amazing scientists and their contributions to primatology.

Birute Galdikas, Jane Goodall, and Dian Fossey in the field

I was familiar with Goodall and Fossey, but I confess to have never read about Galdikas, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about her work here. Each of these women were selected by Dr. Louis Leakey, premier anthropologist to study and observe in the field. Goodall and F
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Roya by: Negin
Shelves: not-for-me
A perfect example of a good idea that's poorly executed. Things ended on a vague note and I'm not sure how I feel about it. Is it or isn't it nonfiction? This book (I believe) set out to make people more aware of female scientists, but in the end I was left not knowing what was true and what wasn't. ...more
Brigid ✩
So, my little sister was reading this and I picked it up last night because it looked cute and interesting––so then I went and read the whole thing, of course.

I already knew a bit about Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, but I don't think I'd ever heard of Biruté Galdikas. This book is a fascinating look into all of their lives and the fearless and groundbreaking work they did. I really loved the artwork, it's really adorable.

For the most part, I liked how it was written. However, there were a few c
When I put a hold on this book through my public library, I had no idea that it was a graphic novel meant for teenagers. All that registered for me was that it was a new book about my personal hero, Jane Goodall, as well as two other admired women, Dian Fossey and Birute Galikas.

It is a graphic novel, so it doesn't take long to read--maybe an hour or so. I would consider it to be a gentle introduction to the work done by three indomitable women for those who are unfamiliar with it.

I guess becaus
I so wanted to love this book! The artwork is fantastic, and the three scientists (Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas) come across as individual personalities, each admirable, tough, and dedicated in her own way.

Unfortunately, as other reviewers have pointed out, there are some problems. My biggest beef is the parroted belief of Louis Leakey that women are better in the field because they're "more perceptive and more patient than men." It would be nice if there was anything here to c
Elizabeth A
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
When I was in primary school, we had to read a book titled "Great Men and Women". Do I need to mention that Gandhi was the only person of color in the book? At least there were two women: Marie Curie and Florence Nightingale. I am glad that times have changed in that respect, and that young people can find books that are somewhat more representative today.

In my home the name Leakey was used as often as the name Kardashian seems to be used by the media today, so imagine my delight in learning th
Seth T.
May 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics

Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks

When my daughter was two, we watched a lot of David Attenborough documentaries. Planet Earth especially. She named the polar bear trio in the first episode after her, her mother, and her infant brother—I, the papa bear, was at the office. One of our favourites though was an episode of The Life of Mammals that we found on Netflix called "Social Climbers." It's all about monkeys and it's amazing to watch. I know all kinds of animals are smart and use tools and surprise us constantly with their ing

Jul 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: graphic-novels
After LOVING Feynman my teens (boys aged 18/15) and I were really excited to find this book.

But we all were frustrated and confused by it.

The kids (who have little to no knowledge of these women) found the narrator switch confusing and were left with lots of questions that were never answered(what did Birute sit in that hurt her? Why did Jane hike naked? What was the point of the card test? What bridge is Birute referring to with Jane? What happened to Dian?). They also didn't "get" how what th
Oct 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
I was mostly enjoying reading this, even though it could be really choppy in places and the perspective shifts could have been handled better. But then I get to the note at the end. So it's partially fiction? But you won't say which part? Fair or not, that left a sour taste. ...more
Vincent Desjardins
This slim graphic novel might serve as an introduction to the work of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas but it is really too short to do justice to the ground-breaking work these women accomplished. The book’s subtitle is “The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas,” but the book isn’t so much about the science as it is about the roads they took and the battles they fought to do their studies. On another note, I wasn’t crazy about the art. The human charact ...more
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's pretty sad (on my part) that I'd never heard of Biruté Galdikas before learning about this book. I'll have to correct that in the next year or so. Of course, I "know" Jane Goodall (love her) as well as Dian Fossey (I've seen Gorillas in the Mist and have the book on my to-read list).

This book is geared towards younger audiences, but because of the subject matter and the fact that it was a comic, I had to check it out. The art is beautiful - it's simple and cute, and some of the scenes are j
Dave Schaafsma
May 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
I hadn't liked T MInus, I had liked his Feynman (though didn't like Feynman himself as depicted in the book), shut when Primates showed up I didn't think I would read it… but this story is great, maybe especially for girls, and is maybe an encouragement for girls to get involved in science, animals, wildlife study and ecology. It's the story of three women who became famous for working with, living with, developing close relationships with, and researching primates: Jane Goodall with chimpanzees ...more
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
My third graphic novel, very entertaining and informative. This is a book that never would have been on my radar had it not been a selection for Booktopia Petoskey 2015.
Now I want to read this author's earlier work, Feynman
I wracked my brain because I knew I had heard of Louis Leakey before. Was it in that wonderful fictional account of Margaret Mead called Euphoria?, hmmmm, or maybe that Hanya Yanagihara anthropological themed The People in the Trees??....nope, not that I goog
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This graphic novel focuses on three female trailblazers and scientists who respectively observed different primates and made landmark discoveries. This book serves as a good introduction to kids of the significance of their discoveries and their journeys to success. However, it only scrapes the surface of their stories, it's not entirely historically accurate, the conversations are fictional, and it doesn't adequately cover Fossey's aggressiveness with the native people of the land she covered. ...more
Dani Shuping
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
Little was understood about primates prior to 1950. While many researchers tried to understand and observe them they all failed and came back frustrated and dejected or with misinformation. And then....three women, Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas, all students of Louis Leaky, changed everything that we knew about primates and changed what we understood about ourselves. This book weaves a story and introduces the reader to the woman and their work...and leaves us wanting more.

For m
Amy Rae
The movie Gorillas in the Mist is one that will always be special to me--I remember watching it with my mother, who liked it a great deal. So I was excited from the start to read a book that included Dian Fossey's life, and for the most part, I wasn't disappointed.

This is a beautifully coloured graphic novel, with dot-eyed heroines that remind me a little of Tintin. (The roommate points out that the overall style is a little too complicated to be true ligne clair, but I think there's some inspir
I know of Goodall's work, and Fossey's. I know something about their research and temperments. But Galkikas? Nothing. Three women under the thrall of Louis Leakey...and held in great suspicion by Mrs. Leakey. They all were inspired to go study primates: chimps, gorillas, orangutans. In their native land. Leakey thought, sexist that he was (and philanderer??) that women were more suited for this kind of field work because they were more patient...and these three were, to an extent.

Goodall seems t
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sweet combo-bio piece about three women who really like watching animals. And not as evolution-focused as I expected.

As someone who's very interested in how various industries work, I loved the behind-the-scenes on HOW Jane Goodall got to the chimps. Apparently, there was this anthropologist who sent/funded these ladies to go watch monkeys - for years at a time.

I loved the way this portrayed the study of animals - many of us love to watch birds, or our pets, or animals at the zoo. And as long a
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty good book about three remarkable scientists who studied apes around the world. I wish there had been a bit more science to complement the personal stories like in Ottaviani's other books. This could have easily been three longer books, one on each woman. ...more
This is a YA graphic novel that tells of the lives and great ape studies of Jane Goodall (chimpanzees), Dian Fossey (gorillas), and Birute Galdikas (orangutans).

This was really good! I’ve read about Goodall and Fossey before, but nothing about Galdikas (though I’ve now added one of her books to my tbr!). Because it’s a fairly short graphic novel that covers all three women, it skips a lot of detail, but I really enjoyed the information that was there, and I loved the illustrations! There is als
Mary Ellen
I have been obsessed with Jane Goodall since I was about 7 years old. I was going to be just like her when I grew up. (I even dressed like her for Halloween one year.) Well, my love for animals was eventually won over by my love for books. Then I married an animator/cartoonist and now I have a special love for graphic novels.

So, you can imagine how ECSTATIC I was that there was a graphic novel about Jane Goodall!! All my favorite things! There was no way this was going to be a strike out.

Well, I
Dec 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
** Reviewed for, Electronic Advanced Reader copy provided through NetGalley by the publisher **
I loved this book! The three life stories of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas are told in one fascinating graphic novel. Each individual woman's story is told, how they each became interested and came to work with their respective primates. One figure, Louis Leaky, seemed to have played a role in all of their lives, the passion for their interest and work was recognized by t
Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas offers the readers a beautiful introduction to three amazing scientist who changed the way we look at primatology, conservation, and the very woozy line between the human animal divide. Jim Ottaviani does an outstanding job of tying the narrative arc of the story through anthropologist Louis Leakey, who helped all three women get into their fields of expertise. Maris Wick's artwork is phenomenally vibrant throughout ...more
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderfully fun introduction into the lives of these three outstanding women. As several other people have mentioned, it's not technically a nonfiction biography but does contain the basic facts about these women and their incredible devotion to their science. It also has a very helpful appendix that lists websites, books and articles for further discovery.

For me, one of the most interesting things was the belief held by Dr. Leakey that women were more patient and more suited to the p
I enjoyed this book, but I am not sure that I will buy it for my 5th grade classroom. The book introduces three primatologists - Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall and Biruté Galdikas - and their work with their respective primates. It also introduces Louis Leakey, who was the one to get each of these women started doing the science that they did.

Although each story is told chronologically (except where the story of Louis Leakey's childhood interrupts the story of Jane Goodall), and this is good, but th
Such a beautiful and playful graphic novel! I love love LOVED Maris Wicks' illustrations and Jim Ottaviani's ability to tell three distinct but intertwined stories (he did a fabulous job with Feynman...I'm really going to have to read more of his work). I was obsessed with Dian Fossey in middle school, only recently learned more about Jane Goodall a few years ago (spurred by the seeming glut of awesome picture books on her life published a couple years back), and only had a vague knowledge of Bi ...more
Hannah Grippo
Needs More About Primates...

I was actually very bored with this book as there was so little about Primates. I learned nothing about them. I'm not against bio-comics on theses remarkable people, but actually there was little about the three heroines too. Just how they got their jobs, office talk, packing for Africa - boring! With the exception of the Jane section, the author didn't dig deep into who these people are/were, and showed us so little about how they interacted with our cousin primates.
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I've worked in news agencies and golf courses in the Chicagoland area, nuclear reactors in the U.S. and Japan, and libraries in Michigan. I still work as a librarian by day, but stay up late writing comics about scientists. When I'm not doing those things, I'm spraining my ankles and flattening my feet by running on trails. Or I'm reading. I read a lot. ...more

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