Cover image for Tarzan
San Souci, Robert D.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion Books for Children, 1999.
Physical Description:
31 pages : color illustrations; 29 cm
A baby boy, left alone in the African jungle after the deaths of his parents, is adopted by an ape and raised to manhood without ever seeing another human being.
Reading Level:
AD 760 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC K-2 4.5 2 Quiz: 17163 Guided reading level: M.
Geographic Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Edgar Rice Burroughs's story of the boy raised by apes now comes to life for a new generation of young readers in this exciting picture book. Tarzan, whose name means "whiteskin", is adopted by a tribe of apes, but as he grows older, he begins to realize that he is not like the others. When he explores the abandoned cabin of his dead parents, he discovers that he is something called "human", a species that uses reason and intelligence. These special human qualities give him the power he needs to become ruler of the apes. But at the same time, he knows that he cannot always be among them; he must leave to follow his destiny as a man.

Author Notes

Robert D. San Souci was born on October 10, 1946 in San Francisco, California. He attended college at St. Mary's College in Moraga. After holding jobs in book stores and in publishing, he became a full-time author in 1974.

He was best known for his adaptations of folklore for children. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 100 books for young readers including Song of Sedna, Kate Shelley: Bound for Legend, The Talking Eggs, Two Bear Cubs, Cendrillon: A Caribbean Cinderella, Brave Margaret: An Irish Tale, Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow, and Cinderella Skeleton. He wrote 12 books which were illustrated by his younger brother Daniel San Souci including The Legend of Scarface, Sister Tricksters: Rollicking Tales of Clever Females, and As Luck Would Have It: From The Brothers Grimm. He also wrote nonfiction works for children, several novels for adults, and the film story for Disney's Mulan.

The Legend of Scarface won the Notable Children's Trade Book in the Social Studies, National Council for the Social Studies, and was a Horn Book honor list citation. Sukey and the Mermaid won the American Library Association's Notable Book citation in 1992 and Cut from the Same Cloth won an Aesop Award from the Children's Folklore Section of the American Folklore Society. He died on December 19, 2014 at the age of 68.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Just in time for the release of Disney's animated feature Tarzan comes this sturdy picture-book introduction to the famous character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. San Souci (The Faithful Friend) skillfully condenses a complex work of fiction into its key components. He skims over the drama preceding Tarzan's birth to Lord and Lady Greystoke, victims of a shipboard mutiny, and quickly plunges readers into the eventful circumstances of Tarzan's adoption by a young female ape. This treatment emphasizes Tarzan's success in teaching himself to read, and his use of intelligence along with physical strength, a combination that results in his becoming king of the apes. San Souci's expert pacing and sense for the essential story line give his adaptation an air of completeness. An endnote addresses literary and philosophical underpinnings of the story as well as the author's use of the source material; it may well inspire kids to one day seek out Burroughs's works. In his trademark style, McCurdy's (Iron Horses, reviewed above) crisp, full-color scratchboard compositions feature lush foliage and menacing wild animals√Ąthey bring the African jungle to life. Ages 5-9. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6 San Souci is to be admired for his many picture-book adaptations of folklore and legend; however, this retelling of Tarzan may be a misstep. Although it undoubtedly will reach commercial success, there are some serious questions about what has been done with this version. The fascinating wild-child aspect of the tale and the mystery and power of self-inflicted literacy are overwhelmed by the action-adventure moments. These scenes boil down to an awful lot of deaths in a few pages of text. "Mortal combat" and "the harsh justice of the jungle" are the operative terms. For adults who harbor nostalgia for the hokey Weissmuller-O'Sullivan films, reading aloud this version devoid of the humor, silliness, and twinge of romance found in the older celluloid version will be a rude awakening. No Cheetah, no UNGAWAH, no Jane here. But even purists and the not-so-squeamish may question this adaptation. In his excellent author's note, San Souci explains his childhood fondness for Tarzan and writes of Burroughs, "One of his greatest gifts is that of world-building: he details the histories, peoples, creatures, cities, languages, customs, artwork, games, and clothing of imaginary places so carefully that they ring true." This extreme condensation renders impossible any world-building or characterization. McCurdy's accomplished scratchboard and colored-pencil illustrations lend a Rockwell Kent-like, mythic quality to the work, but do little to fill in the blanks left by the severely abbreviated text. Sue Sherif, Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Library, AK (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.