Luckily for Umande, the keepers at the zoo were dedicated to their gorillas and took on the job of mothering him until a gorilla mom could be found. Imagine having to teach a gorilla how to be a gorilla and good gorilla manners, so that Umande wouldn't get hurt when he was introduced into the gorilla compound.
After 8 months of human caregiver, Umande traveled to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio. There was older gorilla named Lulu there who was more experienced at being a mom than Kwisha was. But would she be willing to adopt and care for this little guy?
I love it when I pick up a book to read that I feel wishy-washy about and absolutely fall in love with it. That is exactly what happened with A Mom for Umande. No only is this a heartwarming story about gorillas and their keepers, but it tells so much what everyday life is like for gorillas. The keepers had to teach Umande about grooming and playing, all while making gorilla noises for Umande to imitate.
A Mom for Umande is one of those wonderful picture books where the text and the illustrations are so perfectly paired. Maria Faulconer has written the story in clear straightforward sentences, never talking down to the young reader, but managing to include so much in Umanda's story.
The illustrations are done with oil glazes on sealed paper that are rubbed, blotted or scratched. The effect is a lovely softness with very appealing color hues. Artist Susan Kathleen Hartung has managed to capture Umande's feelings from playfulness and wonder to loneliness and fear. The illustrations move the story even as they expand the text.
A Mom for Umande is a wonderful story about adoption and animal conservation and a wonderful story time choice at home or in school.
This book is recommended for readers age 4+
This book was borrowed from a friend
Faulconer writes in her Author's Note that she was inspired by a newspaper article she had read. If you want more information, she suggests you visit the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo or the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, both of which have extensive programs in animal conservation.
And in case you are curious, you can read a 2006 news article about Umande HERE
|The real Umande|