The story opens with a sympathetic portrait of a native Indian hunter who is looking for meat to feed his family. Unfortunately, his hunt leaves a monkey orphaned. He delivers the baby monkey to Doyli’s family. From there, the rest of the story is told from Doyli’s point of view. We follow her from the moment she wakes up in the morning until she goes to bed. We see her helping feed and care for the animals, taking a dangerous canoe ride to school, and doing daily chores without aid of plumbing or electricity. In the exciting climax of the book, she discovers a vendor selling monkeys in a local market and sets in motion the actions that eventually leads to his arrest and the release of the captive monkeys.
Catherine Burnham was a documentary photographer before she became a writer, and the book has fantastic photos that show Doyli in her home and in her community. I loved the back matter essay where Burnham tells the story of how she and her family managed to maneuver things so they could meet Doyli and her family while they were on vacation in Peru.
There is a lot of text in the book, too much for younger or newer readers, but this is a title that will inspire middle grade readers and cause many sighs of longing: “Why can’t we move to the Amazon?”
Doyli to the Rescue: Saving Baby Monkeys in the Amazon by Cathleen Burnham. Crickhollow Books: 2015(Be
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