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Great Illustrated Books

Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships

By Catherine Thimmesh

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011
Pages : 32
Suggested Ages: 4-9
ISBN: 9780547390109

Talk about "odd couples!" Who would imagine a friendship between a baby macaque and a pigeon? A lion cub and a piglet? A polar bear (all 1200 pounds of him) and an Eskimo sled dog?

In zoos, wildlife refuges, and animal hospitals from China to Florida, Siberia to Cincinnati, unlikely friendships between animals are captured in simple rhymes and stunning photographs. Longer captions fill in the details of the friendships: An old orangutan was lonely and showed no interest in living after she lost her mate, until the zookeepers brought in a stray tabby cat – and a comforting friendship developed; a wounded basset hound was befriended by a tawny owl, and for five years (and counting) the two snuggle together on a couch; a twelve-year friendship between a big Asiatic bear and a cat has made it through the test of time. The differences just don't matter in these true stories that make the gentle point that, if animals can figure this out, surely children can!

Few books work with children as young as four and as old as nine, but this one does – and beautifully – with its two levels of text and photographs sure to engage every reader.

Reviewed by : LLW

Themes : ANIMALS. FRIENDSHIP.

If you love this book, then try:

Hatkoff, Isabella, Craig Hatkoff, and Dr. Paula Kahumbu. Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship. Scholastic Press, 2006.


Schulman, Janet. Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2008.


Jenkins, Steve. Living Colors. Houghton Mifflin, 2007.