Monday, April 25, 2011

Owen & Mzee: The true story of a remarkable friendship

My children and I have fallen in love with the non-fiction section of our local library.  Our visits usually begin with my 5-year old daughter asking the librarian where she can find a book about dogs.  She loves dogs.   While she is looking for dog books, I peruse the shelves for anything that may interest my children.  My 3-year-old son loves turtles. So when I saw Owen and Mzee - written by father and daughter Craig and Isabella Hatkoff and Dr. Paula Kahumbu -  a true story about an unlikely friendship between a turtle and a hippo, I added it to our pile.  

In December 26, 2004, a tsunami in the Indian Ocean crashed onto the shore near Malindi, in the African country of Kenya.  Owen, a baby hippo, was found stranded alone on the sandbar of a nearby sandy coral reef.  The local villagers worked hard to rescue the hippo and took him to live at Haller Park, as he would not survive in the wild.  Owen was placed in an enclosure that also housed a 130-year-old giant Aldabra tortoise - Mzee.  The story follows the unlikeliest of friendships that develops between Mzee and Owen.  

The pictures are taken by Peter Greste, whose photos of the friends have appeared in newspapers all over the world and have led visitors from across the globe to make pilgrimages to see one of the world's oddest friendships. The story gives general information about turtles and hippos and provides fun insights into Owen and Mzee's unusual friendship.  At the end of the book, there is also interesting information about the people, places, and animals that appear in the book and background information about the tsunami of 2004.

This is a fun book and a great introduction to non-fiction.  The beautiful pictures and funny and endearing story draw children in while teaching them about animials, Africa and history.  Needless to say, my children loved it.  In fact, when their friends came over, my kids told them how funny the book was and insisted that I read it to the whole group.  

A true measure of success.  

Monday, in the children's literature blogging world, is non-fiction Monday.  Over at Telling Kids the Truth: Writing Non-Fiction for Children there is a list of all blogs highlighting non-fiction children's literature today.  Check it out - there are some great books!

1 comment:

Jordan and Emily said...

Me again. I just love Birds by Kevin Henkes. I am putting in an order at our library (we do it all on line and go and pick it up!) And I just stopped by to get a list of good books to read. Keep your list of books coming. I love the idea of this blog! Yay for fun books. I finished the Book theif (is that spelled right) and loved it. Then I read Unbroken and loved it. Both about world war 2. If Ryan is looking for a book read on the train I would highly recommend Unbroken.