Weird Friends: Unlikely Allies in the Animal Kingdom

Overview

In the animal kingdom, you just can't predict who will be friends with whom. One type of bird baby-sits for newborn crocodiles; there is a beetle that cleans a mouse’s house; and a certain fish leads blind shrimp through underwater traffic. In a world full of predators, the most unlikely creatures form alliances to help each other survive.
Although the ways in which these creatures interact might seem outlandish, their behavior is real animal ...

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Overview

In the animal kingdom, you just can't predict who will be friends with whom. One type of bird baby-sits for newborn crocodiles; there is a beetle that cleans a mouse’s house; and a certain fish leads blind shrimp through underwater traffic. In a world full of predators, the most unlikely creatures form alliances to help each other survive.
Although the ways in which these creatures interact might seem outlandish, their behavior is real animal nature. And kids will love learning about funny and fascinating animal friendships around the globe.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Sometimes in the wild, animals you might think could hurt each other actually help each other in surprising ways." Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey provide specific examples of these unusual duos with brief text and humorous pen-and-ink, gouache and watercolor illustrations in Weird Friends: Unlikely Allies in the Animal Kingdom. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Fourteen sets of creatures that live in symbiosis are simply but clearly described. Each set works together for mutual benefit, however odd the combination. Some, like the egret, the water thick-knees bird, or the impalas, serve as warners of danger for the rhino, the crocodile, or the baboons. Others rid their "friends" of pests for food, like the red phalaropes for sperm whales, the oxpeckers and black labeo fish for hippos, the google-eye fish for the wrasse. From the well known to the less known, all of the relationships are interesting. The color drawings represent the various creatures honestly, but are far from realistic studies. Rather, the artists inject their typical humor into the relationships, arranging everything into attractively designed scenes. Further information and pronunciation tips are included, but the word "symbiosis" is not.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-An introduction to symbiosis. The rhino and the cattle egret, the blind shrimp and its buddy the goby, and the red phalaropes paired with the sperm whale-in all, 14 relationships are described, and many exotic animals are introduced. Certainly, the tuatara and its helpful pal the sooty shearwater will be new to youngsters. The typeface is large and easy to read, and the text is either black or white, depending on the background; pages are awash with color. The pen-and-ink, gouache, pastel, and watercolor illustrations are cartoonlike and kid-friendly, and anthropomorphism is rampant: zebras look puzzled; a shark looks angry; scared mackerels swim toward the safety of home; a hippo looks content to have oxpeckers land on its back, etc. There is a helpful pronunciation guide, and the page on where to find weird friends suggests that one must travel far and wide to locate them. This book fills a niche.-Anne Chapman Callaghan, Racine Public Library, WI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Two veteran illustrators take on nature study in this expanded version of Aruego's Symbiosis: A Book of Unusual Friendships (1970), with indifferent success. Without ever actually using the term "symbiosis," or discussing its various categories, the two present 16 cases of animal relationships. Zebras and ostriches sometimes band together to take advantage of the former's keen hearing and the latter's eyesight; ants will bring the caterpillar of the Large Blue Butterfly into their nest in exchange for its secretions; horse mackerels will hide within, and draw victims to, the Portuguese man-of-war's stinging tentacles; while sooty shearwaters are "out," reptilian tuataras will move in to clean their nests of vermin. The visuals are typically lively, all bright colors and small animal figures either smiling or grimacing toothily, but beyond endnotes supplying locales for these "weird friends," the information is generally scanty. The fact that the caterpillar proceeds to gorge on ant larvae until driven out goes unmentioned, and does that tuatara become a permanent resident, as the narrative states, or does it depart, as the picture shows? There are no sources of further information cited for interested readers to check out, either. Rare is the child who doesn't recognize or enjoy the art of this successful team, but these days, informational books need more than pretty pictures. (pronunciation guide) (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152021283
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.24 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

JOSE ARUEGO and ARIANE DEWEY together have illustrated more than seventy popular children’s books, including the bestselling Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems. They both live in New York City.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent Addition to my Lesson

    I used this book as part of a unit on symbiosis after teaching about mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism. The book does an excellent job giving examples of mutualism. The students were very intrigued by the choice of organisms used and the pictures are bright, colorful, and fun. I especially like the section in the back of the book that tells where the various organisms can be found. It is also a level 5.1 Accelerated Reader book. The children really liked that they were able to get some science and reading with the same book. I recommend it for teachers and any children interested in animals.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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