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Owen & Mzee: Language Of Friendship Hardcover – January 1, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 4—Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship (Scholastic, 2006) chronicled the fascinating story of a baby hippo who was orphaned by the December 2004 tsunami and the bond he formed with Mzee, a 130-year-old Alhambra tortoise at a wildlife sanctuary in Kenya. This sequel updates readers on the status of that friendship a year and a half later, particularly with regard to the way this unusual duo has learned to communicate with one another. They apparently call back and forth, making sounds that hippos and tortoises do not usually make. The authors honestly discuss the issues that will face these two friends in the future, as their caretakers become increasingly concerned that Owen could become a danger to Mzee as he continues to grow. Other problems and possible solutions are discussed. The text is clearly written and accompanied by numerous high-quality, full-color photos of this unique pair. Children captivated by the first book will be thrilled to discover this one, and enough background information is provided so that readers coming to the story for the first time will be comfortable. A first purchase for most libraries.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* For somewhat older readers than Marion Dane Bauer's A Mama for Owen (2007), this book updates children on its famous subjects through crisp, immediate photos taken at the Kenyan refuge they call home. The same complicated supporting cast is featured in this book, including a father-daughter team; a naturalist from the refuge; and photojournalist Greste, whose photos here are more varied, abundant, and consistent in quality than before. Along with assuring children that the bond between Owen and Mzee is "stronger than ever," the authors chronicle the animals' system of communication, involving nudges, nips, and even a special kind of call. Libraries that own the first title will certainly want to add this title; those that don't may wish to purchase just this one, which gives the necessary context and duplicates some elements from the earlier book, while extending the information--through references to naturalists' concerns about Owen's need to interact with other hippos, and about Mzee's safety as his companion grows to his 7,000-pound size--in a way that moves beyond the pat, heartwarming aspects of the incident to ask fascinating questions about animal behavior. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
prejudiced preconceptions. We certainly do not think of Tortoises as having the capacity to nurture another animal or to form the kind of bond that Mzee has with Owen This on going story so well reported and documented with pictures and factual information about each species opens our eyes to a hitherto unknown world of unusual animal behavior.
I believe it provides a wonderful teaching tool as well as simply a fascinating story. I am grateful for the work it took to produce this book and its predecessor. Judy Koltun