Tuesday 19 June 2012

171. Unlikely Friendships: The Monkey and the Dove by Jennifer S Holland

Unlikely Friendships: The Monkey and the Dove by Jennifer S Holland
Published June 2012 Hardie Grant Egmont (Workman) 

From the publisher:
Prepare to enter an even more adorable animal kingdom of interspecies friendships-because this time, it's for kids! Jennifer Holland's bestselling book of unlikely animal friendships has been converted into three chapter books for young readers. Each features five amazing stories from the original, rewritten for young readers ages 7 and up. 

This particular book, is one of three books in the new series Unlikely Friendships.  These stories have been adapted for young readers from the adult gift book with the same name.

The book has a brief introduction form the author about why she decided to research and write the stories of these unusual friendships.  Jennifer Holland is a science writer, who writes about animals, and had heard many stories about animals from different species becoming friends, so she decided to find out if the stories he heard were true, and it turns out, they were.  

This book has five stories in it, The Monkey and the Dove, The Bear and the Cat, The Elephant and the Dog, The Dog and the Cat and The Lion and the Oryx.  Each story is short, the text separated into easy to read paragraphs with a good size font and there are photographs that accompany each story.  

All of the stories are amazing, but the one that really stood out for me is probably the least exotic pairing, that of the cat and the dog.  Libby the cat, and Cashew the dog lived together for 12 years.  They didn't fight, but they basically just ignored each other, until Cashew started going blind.  Then, Libby started to look after Cashew, everywhere that Cashew went, Libby was there to guide him. 

I was recently at a conference where I heard another science writer speak, and she touched briefly on this kind of animal friendship.  Hers was a comment about making children realise that this is not the normal state of things, seeing cute pictures of a cat and a bear is one thing, but it's important that children know this is not 'normal' behaviour for wild animals.  This book is aimed at very young readers, so it doesn't go into much detail, but it does, in some instances, talk about the nature of the particular animals and why they shouldn't be friends.

I have only read one of the three titles, but I am certain that these books will become firm favourites with young animal lovers.

Who will like this book: Girls and Boys age 6+
Read it if you like: Owen and Mzee by Isabella Hatkoff

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