Unlikely Friendships: 50 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom

Unlikely Friendships: 50 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom

4.7 43
by Jennifer Holland

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It is exactly like Isaiah 11:6: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid . . . ” Written by National Geographic magazine writer Jennifer Holland, Unlikely Friendships documents one heartwarming tale after another of animals who, with nothing else in common, bond in the most


It is exactly like Isaiah 11:6: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid . . . ” Written by National Geographic magazine writer Jennifer Holland, Unlikely Friendships documents one heartwarming tale after another of animals who, with nothing else in common, bond in the most unexpected ways. A cat and a bird. A mare and a fawn. An elephant and a sheep. A snake and a hamster. The well-documented stories of Koko the gorilla and All Ball the kitten; and the hippo Owen and the tortoise Mzee. And almost inexplicable stories of predators befriending prey—an Indian leopard slips into a village every night to sleep with a calf. A lionness mothers a baby oryx. Ms. Holland narrates the details and arc of each story, and also offers insights into why—how the young leopard, probably motherless, sought maternal comfort with the calf, and how a baby oryx inspired the same mothering instinct in the lionness. Or, in the story of Kizzy, a nervous retired Greyhound, and Murphy, a red tabby, how cats and dogs actually understand each other’s body language. With Murphy’s friendship and support, Kizzy recovered from life as a racing dog and became a confident, loyal family pet.

These are the most amazing friendships between species, collected from around the world and documented in a selection of full-color candid photographs.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Jennifer S. Holland’s irresistible volume features heartwarming stories of interspecies love and adorable photographs that are heart-stopping in more than one sense.”
New York Times Book Review
“The feel-good book of the summer—maybe the year—may very well be Unlikely Friendships.”
USA Today
“Jennifer Holland documents one heartwarming tale after another of animals who, with nothing else in common, bond in the most unexpected ways.”
Reader's Digest
“With aww-inducing photographs, the book highlights the most improbable animal connections.”
National Geographic
Children's Literature - Cynthia Levinson
Each of the 47 brief photo-essays in this book tells the story of unlikely animal pairings, almost all of them non-human. Among these are a black bear and a cat, a cockatoo and a cat, a dachshund and a piglet, a duckling and a kookaburra, a gorilla and a kitten, orangutans and tiger cubs, a sled-dog and a polar bear, and a rhino and a goat. Also included are human-marine stories of a leopard seal that brought food, in the form of penguins, to an underwater photographer and a manta ray who angled herself so as to be petted by another underwater photographer. Each two- to four-page tale is accompanied by two to four endearing photographs of the animals cuddling or nurturing each other. Although the author seems tempted to sentimentalize the relationships of these unlikely pairs, in the Introduction she wisely analyzes the concept of friendship and the notion of animals having emotional lives and acknowledges that little is known or understood about them. The book concludes with a list of References and Additional Readings. The volume will appeal to young readers visually as well as intellectually through raising and being candid about the risks of anthropomorphizing animal behavior. At the same time, the author is open-minded about the documented evidence of these apparent bonds. Reviewer: Cynthia Levinson

Product Details

Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer S. Holland is a contributing writer for National Geographic, and she also writes for the Earth Touch News Network and other online science news organizations. She lives with her husband, two dogs, and dozens of snakes and geckos, and divides her time between Silver Spring, Maryland, and a cabin in the woods near Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Unlikely Friendships: 50 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
KalieLyn More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with this book by just looking at the cover. I mean, who couldn't?! 210 pages long, it's an easy-read that captivates you from the beginning until the end. Complete with beautiful pictures of the real life friendships and stories about the animals involved, you can't help tearing up and getting goose bumps as you read. The author, whom is a senior writer at National Geographic, not only entertains but also educates the readers by adding facts about each animal featured in the book. Unlikely Friendships is one of those books that you pass on to others and will definitely bring your mind and heart joy. A highly recommended read, you will yearn for more cuteness once you are finished!
Ezette More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful book.....humans can learn alot from the animal kingdom!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best animal books I have ever read!!!Garented to touch your haert
LaTasha Flowers More than 1 year ago
This was so cute. This is a good book for animal lovers of all ages.
KFerbs More than 1 year ago
Great heartwarming stories! The photography is amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have purchased 4 of these books in the past. Make wonderful gifts!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hahaha that was good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with all kinds of animal friendships. So entertaning with millions of cute animals. I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was absolutely beautiful! Very inspiring; I keep looking at it again and again!
Ilasans More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable and very heart-warming. I would recommend this book. It would be a good coffee table enhancement.
nikki1CO More than 1 year ago
The stories will melt your heart, the photographs are fantastic, I own this book & have bought it for many friends who are animal lovers. Amazing that totally different species can bond & love so closely. A definite must for any animal lover
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book reminds me to never doubt my best friend and always make new friends, even if they are different then me. I love this book and highly recomend it to animal lovers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sooooo cute!:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such heart warming stories and such CUTE pictures!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best Friends are made Forever!
Dancingsnowflakes More than 1 year ago
While i knew about koko the gorilla, I was unaware of most of the stories found within this book. I was surprised by some and left wondering what was so unlikely about others. A friend of mine has ferrets and my experiences with them has made it clear that its really jusgt a mtter of personality wiht them. As for the elephant and the stray dog I was genuinely surprised and eased to learn their story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't read this on my nook but I actually read the book and it was by far the best book I have ever read in my entire life! I would recommend it to anyone especially animal lovers! : )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TurningThePagesBlog More than 1 year ago
Last week when I picked up my library hold of Unlikely Friendships: 47 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom I knew that there would be no chance in me resisting the book after I got home and wouldn't you know it an hour and a half after I got in the door I was smiling and flipping the last page of the book. I thought that this was a delightful read. It was quick to read with very cute heart warming stories from all walks of life in the animal kingdom from all over the globe. There are 47 different tales of inter-species friendships and each story is around 2-4 pages long with accompanying photographs. Each of the stories in the book brought their own merry cast of characters and I really enjoyed each and every one of them. From the adopted iguana who made friends with his owner's cats to the elephant and the stray mutt. Big and small all the animals in the book demonstrated that animals do make friends, or at least companions in other creatures. Maybe it's due to loneliness maybe because they're instincts kick in who knows. True the scientific community still scoffs at the idea that such friendships are possible but it isn't as though science hasn't been wrong before. I personally wonder if it is really up to us to make these decisions for our animal brethren and think that we should look at these situations as children do and not wonder about the meanings behind these animal wonders. I thought this was a good book to read especially since I'm an animal lover. At present I live with 2 cats, a golden retriever, 2 gerbils, 3 hamsters and 2 infuriating budgies. While not all my animals are friendly with one another they do sometimes demonstrate a certain tenderness for one another when when one is ailing. I would highly recommend this book to all the animal lovers out there and since the holidays are coming up this might just make the perfect Christmas gift for the animal lovers in your life. Also, I think this would work equally well for children and adults because of the animal theme. For children who are a bit younger I think this would help as a lesson on how friends of all shapes, sizes, etc. can get along.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good, easy read. The stories were intersting, and the photography was quite nice. R Byrd
Anonymous More than 1 year ago