Sarah's Stars

Isabella Hatkoff et al. Owen and Mzee: The Language of Friendship
Scholastic Press  $20.99  ISBN 978-0-439-89959-8  34 pg.
Reviewed by Michelle, Age 12

This true story animal picture book is about an Aldabra tortoise and hippopotamus’ friendship, the sequel to Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship.  Owen is a young hippo that was found stranded on a coral reef after the 2004 tsunami in SE Asia.  He was rescued and taken to Haller Park.  Owen was placed with small, gentle animals because the caretaker, the manager and ecologist thought the other hippos might give Owen a hard time.  Mzee is a 130-year-old Aldabra tortoise that was known as a loner.  Owen stayed right by Mzee’s side from the moment he entered the pen.  Mzee wasn’t happy with Owen but they got along and became true friends.  The friends watch out for each other, sleep with each other and do everything else together.  Once when Mzee needed veterinary care, Owen found Toto, another Aldabra tortoise.  They became friends and when Mzee came back there were three friends.  When Owen was two years old, his caretakers were worried about him.  They think moving Owen in with another hippo, Cleo, may be best for him.  Of course, Mzee would also move. Everyone hopes Cleo, Owen, Mzee and possibly Toto will live happily together.

The photographs by Peter Greste were perfect; you could see each little detail in each close-up.  Owen and Mzee are in almost every photo together because they spent so much time together, but there are pictures of the park and the people who care for them.

Owen & Mzee: Best Friends (ISBN: 978-0-439-92872-4) is a board book for younger readers. This picture book comes with a smaller, shorter and easier story about friendship for younger children.

The print in this book was small for a child but if an adult read it to a child, I think they would really enjoy the book.  They would probably find this interesting and fun.

I really like the Owen & Mzee books and would give them friendly five stars.


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