Illustrated by Maris Wicks. Fun short graphic novel about the lives and work of three women scientists- all sent by Louis Leakey to study primates in the wild. Jane Goodall who first followed chimpanzees in the forests of Gombe, Dian Fossey who studied gorillas in the Virunga mountains, and Biruté Galdikas who tracked orangutans in Indonesia. For such a short book (I did wish it was longer!) it certainly packs in a lot of detail. Glad that I’ve read firsthand accounts by all three women, so I was familiar with many of the incidents noted, but others I wondered about as it’s been so long since I read the other books, I’ve forgotten many details. For example, I remembered that Jane Goodall once mentioned folding her clothes into plastic to get up a mountain trail without having them soaked- but this book while it illustrates that (decently), doesn’t explain what she was doing. I couldn’t recall what illness Biruté Galdikas had suffered from, nor exactly how Dian Fossey had died. The text and pictures make it clear that the work was difficult and tedious, that there was often strife (in Fossey’s case, between herself and the local people), that all three women also did the tiresome work of keeping notes, typing up reports, attending conferences and such after. There’s hints of Louis Leakey’s perhaps inappropriate reasons for recruiting young women to work for him. It shows Jane Goodall keeping her young son in a cage to protect him from the chimpanzees, but doesn’t mention her divorce from Hugo van Lawick, or her second marriage, whereas Gladikas’ divorce and re-marriage are addressed. Just a bit uneven in that regard which was a tad disappointing. Also sometimes confusing when it switched voices, who was narrating about whom. However I enjoyed reading it (in one sitting, a nice breather after the thick biography I just completed), the pictures were fun, and I felt like it gave a very good overview of the work these women did. Especially their significant discoveries- that Jane Goodall saw chimpanzees using tools, and Biruté Galdikas observed orangutans walking on the ground (which nobody thought they ever did, before). I’d hope the book is inspiring to young women who might want to do scientific work, or at least encourage them to pick up other books and learn more about them. It certainly added a few more titles to my own list!
Borrowed from the public library.