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The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps

Last updated Thursday, April 10, 2014

Author: Jeanette Winter
Date of Publication: 2011
ISBN: 0375867740
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2014

Synopsis: Acclaimed picture book biographer Jeanette Winter has found her perfect subject: Jane Goodall, the great observer of chimpanzees. Follow Jane from her childhood in London watching a robin on her windowsill, to her years in the African forests of Gombe, Tanzania to observe chimps, to her worldwide crusade to save these primates and their habitat.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is the woman on the cover doing?
•  Why do you think she is using binoculars to watch the chimps?

•  Dr. Dolittle - the main character of a series of children's books by Hugh Lofting. He is a doctor who shuns human patients in favour of animals, with whom he can speak in their own languages.
•  Tarzan - a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs; he is a feral child raised in the African jungles by the Mangani "great apes"; he later experiences civilization only to largely reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer.
•  malaria - a serious disease that causes chills and fever and that is passed from one person to another by the bite of mosquitoes
•  poacher - one who kills or takes wild animals illegally

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What kind of animals did Jane watch when she was young?
•  Where is Kenya? Tanzania? Gombe? (there may be a map or globe in the classroom)
•  How did Jane gain the trust of the chimps? (lots of patience)
•  Who was the first chimp Jane was able to approach? (she named him David Greybeard)
•  How did Jane Goodall help the chimpanzees?

Craft ideas:
•  Make your own "binoculars". Cut a paper towel roll into 3 or 4 parts (or roll thick construction paper into two tubes). Draw a design on two tubes & tape them together. Punch a hole on each side & attach yarn to loosly hang the binoculars around your neck.
•  Make a jungle collage or drawing. Make cut-out leaves, trees, chimps, etc. & add yarn for vines.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!