I’m getting ready for next week’s brown bag luncheon for library patrons, and I needed to add a few more library books. Jennifer S. Holland’s Unlikely Friendships is a fun addition to the list. I wish you could all see the photographs that the participants will be able to see when I share the book.
Unlikely Friendships is subtitled “47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom.” In a series of short essays, the author discusses “surprising and uncommon bonds between members of two nonhuman species. They are stories from recent years, and they come from all over the world. For those who question whether animals can form friendships, the author responds, “In all the cases that follow, the animals involved are arguably better off – more confident, physically stronger, in higher spirits – after finding each other than they were before.”
Some of the stories are familiar, such as the one about the elephant, Tarra, and the dog, Bella, who became friends. But, there are two stories when animals acted as seeing-eye animals for others. In one pairing, it was a dog for a cat, two animals that were found together after Hurricane Katrina. The other was a cat who acted as a seeing-eye cat for a dog she grew up with. There are unusual friendships, such as the one between the owl and the spaniel. Then, there’s the pit bull, the Siamese cat, and the chicks who all hang around together. The rat and the cat are great friends in one household. And, I wish you could see the pictures of the iguana and the house cats. The pictures in this book are enchanting.
To be honest, it’s the pictures that make this book fun. The short essays are just average accounts. And, I always object to the light colored type. It’s difficult to read in artificial light, and I wish publishers would discontinue it. Biologist Barbara King summed the book up perfectly, “These stories help us get in touch with the best in ourselves.”
Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom by Jennifer S. Holland. Workman Publishing. ©2011. ISBN 978076159131 (paperback), 210p.
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