Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review - Unlikely Friendships


Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom

By: Jennifer Holland
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
Publication Date: June 2011
ISBN: 978-0761159131
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: August 30, 2012

It’s well known in the publishing world that a book cover can make or break a book’s sales. And if one is to judge by the cover of this book, sales must be booming. The irresistible photo of a young rhesus monkey hugging a dove tells the reader that s/he is in for a heartwarming experience while reading through Unlikely Friendships.

This book includes a look at 47 amazing friendships, from a dachshund taking care of a premature piglet, a hamster and a four-foot rat snake, and even, as a well-known song immortalized, a lion, a tiger, and a bear, oh, my! The descriptions of each bond are fairly brief, typically running two to three short pages. First we learn what happened, how and when the two animals first met, and then what happened to them. (Not all had "happily-ever-after" endings so the book may not be suitable for young children.) The author is a science writer who has written for National Geographic magazine and she is honest in her assessments of each relationship, avoiding the urge to anthropomorphize the animals and instead look at the scientific reasons behind each interaction. For instance, in the above mentioned hamster and snake “bond,” the author surmises that because it was autumn and the snake’s need to hibernate was approaching, it simply wasn’t hungry. Regardless of the reason(s), these relationships are still quite fascinating.

The highlight of the book is without a doubt the amazing photos that accompany each of the 47 stories. Upon reading, many of the events may seem impossible, that is until you look at the photos. They are truly wonderful and there are, no doubt, some amazing bonds displayed with the pages of Unlikely Friendships.

Quill says: The perfect gift for the animal lover in your family.