Nature journalist Jennifer S. Holland is a senior writer for National Geographic magazine. She specializes in life science and natural history. If it has to do with animals, she is happy. In Unlikely Friendships she has gathered 47 stories of unusual matchings of different animals.
Some of these bondings appear to be true friendship as humans see it. Others are short term relationships, when the animals bond for a while, then go their natural way. These are stories of unexpected attachments, like a young elephant and a sheep. A dog and a koi fish meet regularly at the edge of a pond. A horse befriends a deer fawn.
The picture on the cover is an adorable macaque and a dove. The macaque was an orphaned, helpless baby. The dove was temporarily grounded due to an injury. Together they helped each other until they could each go their natural way. Many of these stories are like this, such as one involving a hippopotamus and a pygmy goat.
Others involve a longer relationship and the animals have bonded, such as the tale of the two pit bulls, the English bull dog, and the ferrets who had a home together.
One of the most surprising associations is of a hamster and a snake. Normally hamsters are prey for snakes. These two were together during the snake's quiet season when it needs less food. There is even a story of a lion, a tiger, and a bear that live together.
Most of these stories take place in personal homes or in animal preserves. One reason for that is the fact of those are places where humans are able to observe the relationships. Throughout Unlikely Friendships Jennifer S. Holland reminds the reader that these are animals. Their emotions, feelings, and relationships may not be what humans call friendship yet the understanding between some of these animals looks like our definition of friendship.
All of the stories in Unlikely Friendships are short and include pictures of the animals in the stories. This is a good book to have by a place where you can only read a few pages at a time. Unlikely Friendships also makes a great book for animal lovers.
These reviews are personal opinions only and in no way reflect other readers' opinions of the books discussed.
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