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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
What do you know about orangutans? Did you know that there are only about 50,000 orangutans left in the rainforests? Do you even know where they live? I have to admit that I didn’t know very much about orangutans until I read this book. Orangutans are tree-dwelling apes. They build their nests high in the trees to keep safe from predators. Even the name, orangutan, identifies them as ‘person of the forest.’ Orangutans depend on the rainforest for both food and shelter. They are primarily frugivors, preferring to eat mostly fruits, but they also eat insects, small animals, and leaves or bark. The orangutan father doesn’t live with the family as there usually isn’t enough food, but he does come to visit and he makes sure everyone hears him when he comes, marking his territory.
Author Rita Goldner is obviously concerned about the diminishing number of orangutans. The dedication for her picture book, Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy, reads: “For young readers who might some day make a difference for wild orangutans.” The quickly disappearing rainforests are taking away the natural habitat of orangutans. They don’t repopulate quickly, as each mother only has one baby once every eight years or so.
This is a very interesting and informative picture book story. I learned a lot and I know young readers will too. Each page is colorfully illustrated to suit the text and there is usually a footnote at the bottom of the page to add an interesting tidbit, such as a relatively unknown fact about orangutans. Although this book is educational, there is also a story that takes the young reader through a day in the life of a young orangutan. Very well thought out and beautifully presented, this is a much-needed resource on what could potentially become an endangered species. Well done.