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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Threatened, a follow-up to National Book Award finalist Eliot Schrefer's Endangered, is an exciting wilderness survival story that encourages kids to take action to save chimpanzees and their habitat. Humans and animals are in almost constant peril. Violence, mostly among animals or in a wilderness-survival context, isn't gory; some harsh realities, including dead bodies of both humans and animals, appear in brief descriptions. Young readers may need help coping with powerful feelings of fear and anxiety. Supplemental information at the back of the book describes the cruelties chimpanzees suffer when they're used for medical research and suggests ways kids can help save them.
What's the story?
Set in the small African country of Gabon, THREATENED by Eliot Schrefer follows the adventures of orphaned 12-year-old Luc, who's hired by the Professor to help research chimpanzees in the jungle. But because of his now-dead mother's large hospital bills, Luc owes a lot of money to Monsieur Tatagani, who's determined to get Luc back from the jungle to work off the debt. When the Professor mysteriously disappears, Luc's left alone to survive in the jungle with only the chimpanzees for company and guidance. Taught from an early age to fear chimpanzees, he learns to overcome his fears and be accepted by the troop. But when the outside world finally tracks him down, he'll face a tough decision about his own future and that of the chimpanzees.
Is it any good?
Kids will be thrilled and entertained by the exciting action in Threatened and find it easy to relate to orphan Luc as he bravely and cleverly sets about surviving in the wild. His chimpanzee companions, along with an adorable vervet monkey pet named Omar, also become intriguing, delightful characters. The book is a deliberate attempt to make kids aware of the chimpanzees' plight and encourage them to take action; some details might be upsetting to preteens and to animal lovers in particular.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the real threats to chimpanzees, in the wild and in captivity. Which human activities put them most at risk?
Does the fictional story help readers understand the problems chimpanzees face? If the problem is real, why not write a nonfiction book about it?
Does Luc's story make you want to do something to help chimpanzees? What are some things you could do?
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