Tarra & Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends

Tarra & Bella: The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends

by Carol Buckley
     
 

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Best friends come in all shapes and sizes!

After retiring from the circus, Tarra became the first resident of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. When other elephants moved in and developed close friendships, only Tarra remained independent? until the day she met a stray mixed-breed dog named Bella.

It was love at first sight as this unlikely duo became

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Overview

Best friends come in all shapes and sizes!

After retiring from the circus, Tarra became the first resident of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. When other elephants moved in and developed close friendships, only Tarra remained independent? until the day she met a stray mixed-breed dog named Bella.

It was love at first sight as this unlikely duo became inseparable. They ate together, slept together, and even understood each other's language. And when Bella suffered a severe spinal injury, Tarra stayed by her side and was there for her until Bella regained her health.

Brilliant color photographs of Tarra and Bella at home in the Elephant Sanctuary deftly illustrate this inspiring story of companionship, and an informative note about the Sanctuary provides a great resource for parents and teachers.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susan Treadway M.Ed.
A powerful true story about Tarra the elephant is shared through actual photographs, bold formatting and genuine passion by the founder and CEO of the Elephant Sanctuary in Middle Tennessee. The first resident of the sanctuary, Tarra, had been a famous star in show business for twenty years and needed a welcoming, safe place upon retirement. Other elephants came to live there as well. They soon paired together to develop close friendships. All except for Tarra, that is. Somehow she was not able to find a friend and was alone. Quite surprisingly, however, a stray dog named Bella chose her one day. Even though the sanctuary has both Asian and African elephants along with other dogs, elephants do not normally trust dogs. What soon became apparent was that Bella needed a friend to care for. She wanted to pursue a worthy relationship of a most unusual kind. The book documents activities of the two inseparable companions with sensitivity and charm. As unlikely as it may seem, the two communicated well in their own ways; while the other elephants began to accept Bella, too. After a serious spinal cord injury, Bella was taken to the animal hospital. On her own, Tarra made her way to the hospital. She could not bear the separation. Once they spotted each other, it became clear that they should be together. Multiple photos illustrate the tenderness, concern and deep affection they demonstrate for one another. Once Bella was able to use her back legs some, they spent the daylight hours together. At night she had to return to the barn. Later, the pair was reunited and free to roam the sanctuary. Even though she limps, they continue to play, share meals, take walks, and even sleep or nap together. "They are truly forever best friends." With additional information about the Elephant Sanctuary given at the end of the book, this heart-warming story will capture all readers. Included is a web site for viewing live video of elephants in the 2,700 acres of open fields, a twenty-five acre lake, spring-fed ponds, flowing streams, and wooded areas southwest of Nashville. It is significant to note that introducing elements across the curriculum with an expository picture book such as this one provides an excellent opportunity for learning, discussion, hands-on projects, and family involvement. Reviewer: Susan Treadway, M.Ed.
Publishers Weekly
With a conversational narrative and copious photographs, Buckley, cofounder and executive director of Tennessee’s Elephant Sanctuary, spotlights the true-life friendship between an unlikely pair of animals. Following in the footsteps of hippo and tortoise duo Owen and Mzee, Tarra, a retired circus elephant who needed “elephant friends and lots of room to roam,” and Bella, one of the sanctuary’s stray dogs, forge an immediate and strong bond. In one poignant scenario, Tarra stands guard by the ditch where an injured Bella is lying until sanctuary workers locate her, and remains in that spot for two days, waiting for her return. The elephant later stays by the barn where she correctly senses her friend is until a caregiver carries the ailing dog outside. Shots of Tarra petting Bella with her trunk are among the book’s most endearing pictures, which range from snapshotlike to skillfully framed images; also notable are photographs that underscore the dramatic difference in the animals’ sizes. An endnote gives additional information about the sanctuary and its mission. Though the lime-green background on some pages is distracting, the animals’ friendship will inspire young readers. Ages 3–up. (Sept.)
Booklist
A sweet and sincere offering.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Unusual friendships occur in the animal world—a racehorse insisting on sharing living quarters with a goat, a cat lovingly raising a litter of bunnies—examples abound, especially on the Internet. But here the relationship is between such disparate critters as a stray dog and an elephant retired from the entertainment industry. No one knows why Bella (the dog) decided to accompany Tarra (the elephant) everywhere, or why Tarra allowed it in the first place (animals at the Elephant Sanctuary are not tolerant of dogs who hang about). Buckley's straightforward text and her empathy-building photos warmly present an indelible image of this unlikely friendship without trying to explain it. It simply is. The book also includes a segment on the history and goals of the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, TN. Fans of Isabella and Craig Hatkoff's Owen & Mzee (Scholastic, 2006) will eat this up.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
From the Publisher
“A sweet and sincere offering.”
Booklist
“Buckley’s straightforward text and her empathy-building photos warmly present an indelible image of this unlikely friendship without trying to explain it. It simply is.”
School Library Journal
"The animals’ friendship will inspire young readers."
Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399254437
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
09/08/2009
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
336,170
Product dimensions:
10.34(w) x 10.32(h) x 0.39(d)
Lexile:
AD990L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“A sweet and sincere offering.”
Booklist
“Buckley’s straightforward text and her empathy-building photos warmly present an indelible image of this unlikely friendship without trying to explain it. It simply is.”
School Library Journal
"The animals’ friendship will inspire young readers."
Publishers Weekly

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