Those who were captivated byOwen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship -about the bond between a baby hippo orphaned by the 2004 tsunami and an adult tortoise living in the same Kenyan sanctuary-will find this follow-up equally mesmerizing. Again, Greste's crisp color photographs reveal these inseparable animal companions at remarkably close range. A standout sequence of nine frames allows readers to observe one of the unique ways the pair communicates: the now two-year-old Owen, signaling Mzee to move to the left, nudges the 130-year-old turtle's left rear foot. The two also communicate in their own "language," a deep rumbling sound that is not intuitive to either species. The authors (a youngster, her father and the manager of the Kenyan park) do raise questions about how the friendship will progress, as Owen grows to his adult size of 7,000 pounds, and his caretakers worry that he could unintentionally harm Mzee. Nonetheless, readers of all ages will likely concur with the authors' observation: "No matter how things turn out, the story of their friendship will always remind the world that when you need a friend, one will be there for you." Youngsters will eagerly await the next chapter in this extraordinary companionship. Ages 4-8.(Jan.)
In 2005, this father-daughter team, with the ecologist and the photographer, chronicled the irresistible story of the baby hippopotamus, orphaned by the December 2004 tsunami, which imprinted on the more-than-a-century-old Aldabra tortoise in a nature preserve in Kenya. Owen and
Mzee's story continues, with unexpected communication and devotion between the animals and the unexpected difficulties (Owen acts much more like a tortoise than a hippo). The photographs continue to be quite wonderful, and it is hard not to agree with the astonishment in the text: These animals communicate, play, eat and live together, though they are utterly dissimilar in every way. Their story is recapitulated in this volume, so even if they don't own the first, eager young readers can catch right up and be mesmerized, mystified and charmed. (natural history, maps, notes) (Picture book. 5-10)
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