Cover of The Boy Who Spoke Chimp by Jane Yolen

Boy Who Spoke Chimp, The

A short science fiction novel about a runaway boy who catches a ride with a van delivering hand-signing chimps to a California lab. A big earthquake destroys the road, tips over the van, kills the driver, and boy and chimp have to make their way through a devastated countryside to San Francisco. The hardcover and paperback were published simultaneously by Knopf. The cover artist Wiesner went on to win the Caldecott years later.


  • Nominated for the 1984 Maud Hart Lovelace Award (aka the Minnesota  Children’s Book Award)

What reviewers have said:

  • “Yolen relates the adventure in short manageable sentences and a lively style.”—Booklist
  • “The Boy Who Spoke Chimp is a sometimes frightening, always fascinating story. . .Adventure, travails, the growth of a hero, and a touching ending—all here to make excellent reading.”—the L.A. Times
  • “We all think about what it means to be a hero and wonder how we’d measure up. The Boy Who Spoke Chimp will give you new ways to consider this question.”