Kindle Book Spotlight: Unusual Animal Friendships

May 5, 2014
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Sometimes, circumstances build a strong bond between animals that would be enemies or unknown to each other in the wild. Here are some books that explore unusual animal friendships.

Unlikely Friendships: 50 Remarkable Stories from the Animal Kingdom (5/5 stars, currently priced at $7.53)

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.

 

Unlikely Loves: 43 Heartwarming True Stories from the Animal Kingdom (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $8.51)

Unlikely Friendships is the phenomenal New York Times bestseller that’s spent 44 weeks on the list and has 615,000 copies in print. It’s struck a chord with media, from CBS This Morning to USA Today, and Temple Grandin has praised it as “amazing. It shows the power of friendship.” Now its author, Jennifer Holland, who writes about animal relationships with insight, compassion, and a fine narrative touch, explores animal attachments that, in human terms, can only be called love.

Packed with beautiful, breathtaking full-color photographs, Unlikely Loves is a celebration of love between species. Here are stories of parental love, like the Dalmatian who mothers a newborn lamb—a lamb that just happens to be white with black spots! Stories of playful love, including the fox and the hound who become inseparable. And stories of orphaned animals who have found family-like ties in unexpected combinations, like the elephant who’s bonded with sea lions, goats, and other animals in her walks around the Oregon Zoo.

Ms. Holland has interviewed scientists, zoologists, and animal caretakers from around the world, tracking down firsthand sources and eyewitnesses. The stories are written with journalistic integrity and detail—and always filled with the author’s deep affection for her subjects.

 

Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $10.59)

What makes a camel friends with a Vietnamese pig? Or a wild polar bear pals with a sled dog? In this young preschool book, Catherine Thimmesh makes us wonder at the truth and mystery of unlikely animal friendships.

Because the stories behind these friendships are true, not contrived, captured by photographers in many countries ranging from Siberia to Japan, they not only give readers insight into animals but challenge preconceived notions about compatibility.

This book also expresses tolerance of differences and makes us look at the kindness of animals—and humans—a little differently.

 

Random Acts of Kindness by Animals (5/5 stars, currently priced at $9.39)

The French poet, Theophile Gautier once asked, “Who can believe that there is no soul behind those luminous eyes?” And it’s true – if you have ever loved an animal, you know that there is something special about them. Random Acts of Kindness by Animals proves it, through amazing and heartwarming true tales of animal compassion, devotion, and bravery. In the pages of this book readers will meet remarkable dogs and cats, as well as gorillas, dolphins, bears, seagulls, rats, birds, and one heroic pig! Even ants are caught practicing compassion, as they’re observed pulling a thorn from an injured comrade.

Included are well-publicized stories, such as the gorilla that carried an injured child to safety, as well as the more obscure, like the German Shepherd that visited the grave of his deceased owner every day at the same hour. This sweet book also reflects human acts of kindness to animals. Edward Lear, author of The Owl and the Pussycat, built his new house as an exact replica of his old one to keep from traumatizing his beloved cat.

Random Acts of Kindness by Animals proves that these are thinking creatures with real emotions – hardly news to animal lovers – and provides a window into the lives of some amazing critters!

 

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