Looking for Miza
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know this story deals with the disappearance of a baby mountain gorilla and her mother; only the baby is found. There’s also discussion of the dangers facing mountain gorillas, including poachers. The park rangers who help protect the gorillas carry guns.
What's the story?
Over half the world’s remaining 700 gorillas live in Virunga National Park in Congo, where rangers try to protect them from poachers, human visitors, and habitat loss. When baby Miza and her mother disappear in June 2007, park rangers and the gorilla that led Miza’s family troop immediately begin searching for them. Miza is brought back safely, and eventually recovers from her ordeal with the help of family members.
Is it any good?
This should be a compelling dramatic tale, but flat writing and a disjointed narrative make it somewhat disappointing -- a weaker entry in the popular series that includes Knut and Owen & Mzee. The retelling of Miza’s disappearance and recovery lacks suspense and emotional impact -- though that’s partly due to the fact that no one really knows what happened to Miza. The full-color photographs are generally fuzzy, overexposed, or have a digital sheen, but there are a few standouts: kids will delight in the image of a playful gorilla with its feet in the air.
However, there is much to appreciate in this glimpse of gorilla life in the wild, written by Craig Hatkoff with his daughters, Juliana and Isabella. They describe some of the social roles in gorilla families, the unique position of silverbacks, and the challenges facing family leaders. The appendix offers more information on threats to mountain gorillas and organizations dedicated to helping these endangered animals.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the roles and responsibilities of the members of Miza’s family. How is her family similar to yours? How is it different?