Will you go ape for Ape?
In an age where we are two clicks of an opposable thumb away from watching live primates any non fiction book, especially one on offer for £10.99, needs to have instant yet enduring appeal.
Aping somewhat the look of an old fashioned children's book (i.e. from the days when a evocative illustration fired an imagination in an encyclopaedia) "Ape" (text by Martin Jenkins-former TES Information Book of the Year award winner) is aimed at young readers (6 up). It relies for much of its appeal on the apt illustrations ably added by Vicky White. However, despite the generous size of the book which lends the illustrations gravitas, it remains a lightweight read and may not sufficiently enthral to be worthy of the hefty guide price.
That's not to say your little monkeys will not enjoy such a book- they will, and will grub out some interesting facts from its pages- it even has a mini index as all good scientific reads should. However, you don't have to be Bobo to realise that if its apes you're after, you shall soon wish to branch out - and therein lies the book's failure- as it will be webcams and photos children'll seek.
Like a vestigial tail, this book is something we don't really need. Yet, as anyone who ever bangs their coccyx knows, once reminded of its existence, it isn't easy to forget- and those who enjoy it, seeing it in a school library, will wish to own it themselves. Additionally, I suspect there will be those who recognise this book as a distant relative of books they read as children and will buy it as a gift for their own for that reason.