Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo’s Project ChimpCARE recently launched Chimps Should Be Chimps, a free children’s book for iPad®. Chimps Should Be Chimps is designed for early readers aged 3-8 years and offers an interactive and engaging story that aims to educate and inform kids—and their parents—about chimpanzees.
“Too often, first impressions about chimpanzees are formed by seeing them dressed in human clothes performing in movies or television shows,” said Steve Ross, PhD, founder of Project ChimpCARE (ChimpCARE is an initiative aimed at heightening awareness about the welfare of chimpanzees across the United States.). “Unfortunately, recent research suggests that these impressions can be lasting and have detrimental consequences for this endangered species.”
Chimps Should Be Chimps provides kids, and their parents, with a different impression–one that looks at life from a chimpanzee’s perspective. Through rhyming, lyrical prose, the story is told through the eyes of two chimpanzee characters: wise old Poe and his granddaughter Lulu who live amongst other chimpanzees at a local zoo.
The story is highlighted with bright, colorful, and playful illustrations, which seem to come to life with the stroke of a finger on the iPad screen. This multisensory book includes the sounds of waterfalls, music, and birds that help bring the characters to life.
The story highlights things that chimpanzees love to do including climbing and swinging in trees, fishing for termites, building nests, and playing with other chimpanzees. The story also carefully conveys a message about things that do not make chimpanzees happy, such as being separated from their mother at an early age and being isolated from their peers so they can be used for performance in movies or circuses.
“The inspiration for the book came from trying to talk to my own kids about chimpanzees,” explained Ross. “The story aims to relate how chimpanzees deserve to be free from these antiquated practices of being dressed up for human amusement. But perhaps just as importantly, it conveys to kids the importance of being yourself and believing in what comes naturally to you.”
Ross expresses hope that the children's book will not only reach a younger generation who will be active in changing the world to be a better place for wildlife, but it will give their parents, who might be reading along to them, a new perspective on these important issues. Chimps Should be Chimps was created in partnership with Manning Productions. Visit the Chimps Should Be Chimps website to learn more about this free iPad book, see illustrations, view the book trailer, and get detailed behind-the-scenes interviews about the creation of this children’s app and the work of Project ChimpCARE.