Looking For Miza: The True Story of the Mountain Gorilla Family Who Rescued One of Their Own
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Hardcover, Scholastic Press, 2008, ISBN13 9780545085403, ISBN10 0545085403
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In a magical place called the Congo, in the beautiful forests and jungles of Virunga National Park, lives a young female mountain gorilla named Miza. She was just like any other baby gorilla, riding on her mother's back, playing, taking naps. Then, one day, when Miza and her mother were out searching for food, Miza's mother disappeared, leaving her baby alone and frightened. Miza's father, a fierce silverback named Kabirizi and the leader of Virunga's largest family of mountain gorillas, set out to find Miza. The Congolese rangers, who dedicate their lives to protecting the gorillas, were searching for Miza, too. Everyone was worried about her. Then something amazing happened: Kabirizi found Miza and brought her back to live with her family. Virunga is home to roughly 380 mountain gorillas, just over half of the planet's remaining mountain gorilla population. Miza and other mountain gorillas face an especially uncertain future. They are an endangered species, disappearing at an alarming speed. Without our help they could vanish completely. Filled with lush photographs by award-winning photographer Peter Greste, LOOKING FOR MIZA is a powerful call to action. The fate of these majestic creatures is in our hands. This is Miza's story. It's our story, too. Publishers Weekly,Adding to their books about animals who respond to dire situations with inspiring behavior, the Hatkoffs (Owen and Mzee) team with the conservation director of Wildlife Direct, Kahumbu, to describe how a 31-member mountain gorilla family mobilizes itself to rescue and then raise Miza, orphaned under mysterious circumstances before she is two. The story is more ambitious than any the Hatkoffs have previously told, and they only partly fulfill their crowded agenda: explaining the dynamics of a gorilla family and the needs of the young; explaining the role of park rangers; and explaining the danger of extinction (the mountain gorillas of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Miza's family lives, make up 380 of the world's 700 remaining mountain gorillas, and they are threatened by poachers, people who steal coal or lumber from the park, and militias). The photos vary in quality: a few are crisp, but sections of a number of photos look bleached out. Kids will feel the emotional impact, but they will also hear the authors straining: "[Miza's story] also reminds us of the adage, 'Seek and ye shall find,'" they conclude. "And that is the true story of looking for Miza." Ages 7-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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