Friday, May 18, 2018

Orphaned by Eliot Schrefer - OPTIONAL

Orphaned by Eliot Schrefer, 336 pages.  Scholastic Press, OCTOBER 2018.  $19.
Langauge: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (some deaths)


Snub lives the normal life of a silverback gorilla with Mother, Brother, Wrinkled, Teased, and their leader, Silverback.  First a new baby is born to mother, and Snub calls him Breath.  But then violent shaking and wildfires destroy their home. Snub and Breath are alone after Mother is attacked by a strange new group of beings – Snub calls them not-gorillas because while they have arms and legs and kind of move like Snub, they have no fur and their actions are incomprehensible. Snub even adopts one young not-gorilla who is abandoned by the group and calls it Orphan.

Schrefer reaches far back into history to look at the first interactions between man and gorilla. Because of the difficulty of writing through the eyes of a gorilla, the narrative is less compelling – less able to draw the reader into the story.  The interactions between Snub and the not-gorillas are short.  I applaud Schrefer’s bold choice  - to see through Snub’s eyes, but it is less likely that students will talk this one up with each other.

EL, MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher

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