‘A Mom for Umande’ by Maria Faulconer: Picture book about a baby gorilla


Rating: 4 1/2 stars

In “A Mom for Umande” by Maria Faulconer, a baby gorilla’s birth mother doesn’t know what to do with him. The keepers at the zoo must act as his mom.

Twenty-four hours a day they play with little Umande and teach him to be a gorilla. Even though they try to get his mother to be a mother to him, she’s too young. She just wants to be his playmate.

Finally, Umande travels to another zoo, where he meets Lulu, an experienced mom. She knows just what to do with a baby who needs a mom.

This story is based on the true story of Umande, born at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Umande ended up at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium with Lulu, the gorilla who became his mom.

This is a great story for kids of all ages because it shows that not all real moms — human or otherwise — are the birth moms. Sometimes, babies can find their moms through other means. It also shows all the hard work that the zookeepers did to raise Umande as a gorilla so he would acclimate to his new gorilla family.

Classroom libraries would be richer with this book included in the nonfiction section, and for those with adopted children, this book is a great way to start a discussion about adoption.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Dial Books, for review purposes.