Monday, August 08, 2011


When a lowland gorilla is acquired by a research lab he becomes the main subject of a study being done to investigate the possibility for an ape to acquire speech. They did not use similar methods that other researchers had tried such as teaching the animal sign language. In this case a radical new method was tried and a very delicate surgery was performed grafting new vocal cords into the animal. This was successful and Ortega began to acquire language.

At the age of eleven, he was sent to school with human children and this is where the story begins. Fitting in as a new kid is always difficult but when you are a large gorilla it is even more so. In Ortega by Maureen Fegus, the author tells an unusual story of animal who has to fit into a human world and while it is a work of fiction, similar stories are taking place in laboratories around the world. Good idea or ? You, the reader, will have to decide. For grades 5-8.

If you liked Ortega, then you also might also like My Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel. This one's about a chimpanzee raised with a family with human children. The chimp is treated as if he were the youngest brother and included in all family activities. But as it turns out family life is not so easy nor is acceptance of a human/chimp hybrid. For grades 5-8

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