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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Unlikely Friendships, written by Jennifer S. Holland. Workman, Thomas Allen & Son. 2011. $16.95 ages 8 and up

"The monkey chattered;
the dove cooed.
And at night they slept
in the cage together, each
the other's pillow and

There so many small stories here that I want to share with you....47 in fact. Some of them are likely known to you. Koko and All Ball have been featured elsewhere; as have Owen and Mzee. But, there are many others and each is as captivating and it will warm your heart as you read about these pairings of animals not meant to be friendly to one another. I mean, a cat and a bird?

"After his adoption, Lucky found himself cohabiting with Coco, a brash and outspoken cockatoo that took to the feline with a gentle claw."

How lucky we are to be privy to these engaging stories collected by Jennifer Holland, a writer for National Geographic!  She tells us of animals with nothing in common but friendship...unlikely indeed! Predator befriends prey as in the story of the rat and the cat:

"Nowadays, Peanut loves to snuggle with Ranj and will crawl fully under the cat's haunches when he's seated. The rat appears soothed by the cat's presence, and will close her eyes as she snuggles up to his furry warmth."

What the what?

In each story Jennifer Holland gives details of the friendship and offers her perspective on why these animals gravitate toward each other. She also includes the date, the world community and small information boxes that give readers the scientific scoop on the animals presented. The full-color photographs add interest and inspire awe.

Here's my favorite for today:

"The Golden Retriever and the Koi...The main draw for Chino was Falstaff, the koi - a large, multi-colored goldfish related to carp, a species that has been selectively bred in Asia for centuries to bring out both beauty and personality. Now popular in Westerners' backyard ponds, koi are as gregarious a fish as you'll find. And Chino was no slouch when it came to social graces."

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