Owen & Mzee: The Language Of Friendship

by Isabella Hatkoff

Hardcover, 2007


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Call number

J 599.63


Scholastic Press (2007), Edition: 1St Edition, Hardcover, 40 pages


Continues the story of the unusual friendship between Owen, a young orphaned hippo, and Mzee, a 130-year old Aldabra tortoise.

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Library favorite

User reviews

LibraryThing member maybedog
Another book to continue to capitalize on the friendship of this hippo and tortoise couple and it's still wonderful. I am happy to support them as the funds go to support the animals.
LibraryThing member kaylekatzung
This book is a great book about frienship. It tells the story of Owen & Mzee and how they came to be friends. I think this would suit upper elementary students. I would use this book as part of a frienship theme.
LibraryThing member beckystandal
Ages 6 and Up. This book is the sequel to “Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship,” which described how Owen, and orphaned hippo, was adopted by a giant tortoise named Mzee when he came to live at a wildlife refuge in Kenya. This book summarizes their story and describes the
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ways the two animals communicate with one another. The book stresses how the relationship between the two is a scientific mystery, because it is generally accepted in the zoological community that reptiles don’t have mothering instincts the way that mammals do. The book also gives some information about what the future might look like for these two animals as Owen continues to grow. There are a lot of great photographs of Owen and Mzee, including a storyboard of shots of their physical communications. Additional information on hippos, tortoises, Kenya, and the park where they live are included at the back of the book along with a pronunciation guide. Owen and Mzee are an interesting story and animal friendships are always very fascinating to kids. Although this book is called a sequel, it stands quite nicely on its own, and it is not necessary for a collection to have the earlier book to select this one. Recommended for juvenile non-fiction collections in public and elementary school libraries.
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LibraryThing member sunnyburke
This is the sequel to the amazing story of two unlikely friends that become inseparable. The first book tells the beautiful story of stray hippo, Owen, that finds a new home with a new roommate - a 130 year old tortoise named Mzee. This sequel continues the story and goes more into detail how the
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two friends are still extremely close and how their friendship defies science. It also talks a little bit about how the park doctors are concerned that Owen is not acting like a normal hippo but rather like a tortoise and how they might need to introduce Own to other hippos so that he can learn how to be himself...a hippo. It also talks about how Owen and Mzee have developed their own language and way of commuicating with each other. This is a great book to not only teach kids about unlikely friendships, but it also teaches them about Haller Park in Mombasa, about the hippo and tortoise species, and about the proper pronunciation of a few Swahili words.
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LibraryThing member kikione
A charming story about a baby hippo and and 130 year old tortoise that befriend one another. They develop their own language or way of communicating. Children will find this story fascinating. It has some great pages at the back that teach more about these animals and the area they live in.
LibraryThing member Emily_Cobenais
Owen the hippo was saved after a tsunami and after being put in a refuge he becomes friends with an unlikely animal, a tortoise named Mzee. It is a story of an unlikely friendship. This is for elementary grades.
LibraryThing member ChasidyBrown
Summary: This is a book about a baby hippo that was stranded after a tsunami and was placed with a 130 pd tortoise at Haller Park. They formed a remarkable friendship and learned to live with each.

Reveiw: I thought this was a remarkable book! The best book I have read in a long time. I thought it
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would be a good teaching tool for children who maybe are having problems finding a special friend or children that are trying to learn that its okay to have different kinds of friendships.l

Extensions: Finding a new friend, Being a friend, Diferences in animals/people
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LibraryThing member HelenDiekoff
This story is about a real life friendship between a hippo named Owen and a tortoise named Mzee. Owen was saved from a tsunami and was brought into refuge where he met Mzee. This shows children about friendships, and is for the elementary grade level.
LibraryThing member tfink
About the friendship of a turtle and hippo at a zoo. I like that I can use this book in a friendship lesson.
LibraryThing member iecj
This is the sequel to Owen and Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship. Readers are updated on how the unlikely friendship between the tortoise and hippo continues to grow as they communicate using sounds that they wouldn't normally make. Concerns for their future is expressed. Photographs
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are used as a visual tool. This book would appeal to anyone who read the first book and to younger children in particular.
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LibraryThing member gundulabaehre
The sequel to Owen & Mzee: The True Story Of A Remarkable Friendship (and by the same author), Owen & Mzee: The Language Of Friendship provides a detailed and informative account of Owen (a young hippopotamus) and Mzee's (a 130 year old aldabra tortoise) first year and a half together at the
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sanctuary (Haller Park in Kenya). There is a short and succinct account of Owen's rescue and his transport to the sanctuary, but most of the story presented in Owen & Mzee: The Language Of Friendship features Owen and Mzee's life together at the sanctuary (their friendship, their daily lives, even some of the problems facing them, and potential challenges they might be facing in the future).

I have to say that I actually enjoyed Owen & Mzee: The Language Of Friendship quite a bit more than the original story. The photographs are, once again, simply amazing and really tug at one's heartstrings, and while the narrative, the text is again rather text-heavy and long-winded at times, the fact that Owen & Mzee: The Language Of Friendship is all about Owen and Mzee's friendship and their lives together at the sanctuary, makes the sequel much more interesting to me. In my opinion, the original story, Owen & Mzee: The True Story Of A Remarkable Friendship spends a bit too much time recounting Owen's rescue, while the part detailing and describing Owen and Mzee's developing friendship (after Owen's arrival at Haller Park) feels a bit rushed, and a bit like an afterthought.

Especially the fact that Owen and Mzee have actually developed their very own and completely unique "language" is fascinating, and how absolutely sweet and poignant that Owen has made friends with another aldabra tortoise (Owen made friends with Toto when Mzee had to be isolated due to a medical condition). I hope that Owen, Mzee and little Toto will be able to remain together, even if Owen will one day have to be moved to another part of the sanctuary. I never realised that there were/are potential issues with Owen and Mzee's friendship, that Owen is acting more like a tortoise at times than a hippopotamus.

Again, like the original story, this book is recommended more for older children than younger children (whose attention span might become a bit overtaxed with and by the length and breadth of the narrative). Owen & Mzee: The Language Of Friendship is definitely a more than worthy sequel to Owen & Mzee: The True Story Of A Remarkable Friendship. And if you are going to only read one book about Owen and Mzee, I would actually and without hesitation recommend this simply wonderful and informative sequel over the original story.
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LibraryThing member Cottonwood.School
Continues the story of the unusual friendship between Owen, a young orphaned hippo, and Mzee, a 130-year old Aldabra tortoise.
LibraryThing member SamanthaThompson
This book is a great read because it features the heartwarming story of 2 completely different animals. One reason I liked this book is the information at the end about Kenya, hippos, and turtles. The facts at the end help clarify things that are in the book and give the reader more information if
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they are curious to learn more. It helps serve as a jumping point for readers to start looking more into animals in Africa. Another reason I liked this story is that its a sequel to the original story about Owen and Mzee. Even though this story contains the same characters as the first one, there are enough differences to make this a worthwhile read as well. Hatkoff focuses on the communication of Owen and Mzee whereas the first book focused on how the friendship occurred. I really liked that this sequel appealed to both new readers and those that were familiar with the first book. It offers readers that read the first book to remain updated and learn more about Owen and Mzee. However, it also welcomes new readers who did not read the first one because it summarizes the story of Owen and Mzee in the beginning. If I had only read this story and never picked up the first one, I would not be confused at all. The message of this book is that friends come in all different forms. Sometimes it may not make sense why someone is friends with you because they may seem extremely different, but once you see how much they care and want to help then everything falls into place.
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LibraryThing member Michaela.Bushey
This book is about the heartwarming and unlikely friendship of two animals - a hippo named Owen and a tortoise named Mzee. When baby Owen was orphaned and stranded after a tsunami, he was taken to a wildlife reserve where he quickly and unexpectedly bonded with Mzee - a tortoise over 100 years old!
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Even though Mzee is a reptile and Owen is a mammal, they are inseparable and have even developed their own form of communication. Clearly written text and beautiful photographs combine to tell a wonderful story of friendship.

In a classroom, this could be used in a science unit on animals. It would be a good example of how animal behavior can vary within a species. In addition, it would foster class conversations about friendship and how love can cross any barrier.
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LibraryThing member Jdwalker
This is such a fun story to share with children. The photography brings the story to life. Not only do children get to learn about hippos and tortoises, but they also get introduced to an amazing friendship between the two. This would be a great book to pair with a fiction book that is based on the
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same type of theme of two characters that aren't alike coming together to be friends. This is a great book to use to teach children that sometimes the best friends they will encounter will be the ones they had never expected. I also like that the setting of the story is in Kenya. Great opportunity to explore another country and culture. The vocabulary in the book is also very good. Children will learn words like sanctuary, boma, affection etc.
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LibraryThing member stomas5
I believe this book is a great to have in the classroom for many reasons. First, it is an informational story that teaches children about different habitats, natural disasters, and animals. For example, along with mentioning it in the story, in the back of the book is information about the two
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animals, about Kenya and Malindi (with a map included), and more information about the nature reserve. Along with telling a great story, it is also giving a lot of information. I also like this book because it teaches children some of the native language Swahili, because this story takes place in Africa. It gives children an insight and perspective into another culture. For example, on page 7 it says, "But most of the time, Mzee, whose name in the Swahili language means "wise old man", is like a gentle guardian to Owen."
This book has one main message and overall theme of the story and that is friendship comes in all shapes and sizes and across all cultures and backgrounds. It doesn't matter what you look like or where you come from, anyone can be your friend. It also shows that friendship and love can heal all wounds especially ones of the heart. Owen had just suffered the loss of his family and Mzee was his companion to help him through.
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LibraryThing member BayleeWestrick
This true story tells the story of an unusual friendship between a tortoise and hippo. At first they did not get along, but as the transitions continued, the two become really good friends.
LibraryThing member ShakelaWilliams
This informational book called Owen & Mzee The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship is very enjoyable and interesting for every reader in my opinion. Firstly, I loved this book because there are actual photographs to show the life of Hippopotamus Owen, and how it met Tortoise Mzee. On the third
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page, there is a picture of Owen stranded alone on a reef, which helps the reader really comprehend the severity of his predicament; a baby hippo stranded all alone on a reef, with no way of escape. Also, each photograph has a caption to describe exactly what is happening in the picture. On the fifth page, there is a photograph of a lot of people on their way to help Owen the hippo out of the reef. The caption says, “the cheers could be heard almost a mile away.” Not only does this help the reader see the rescue, but it also helps them imagine what the rescue would sound like. This method is extremely engaging, and makes the story more interesting. I also thought the story was told in a narrative voice to help capture the reader’s interests. Even with the narrative tone, facts were still presented. For example, it says, “ Since hippos are the most dangerous animals in Africa, and a full grown adult can weigh as much as 8,000 pounds, there was little the people could do.” In my opinion, because this book isn’t set up like a typical informational book it’s a lot more enjoyable for all readers, especially younger children. Overall, the message of this book is finding friendship in unexpected places. Normally in the wild Hippo’s and Tortoises aren’t compatible, but this story proves that sometimes you can find a friend anywhere, and differences shouldn’t prevent you from being friends with someone.
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LibraryThing member uufnn
"When Isabella Hatkoff, at age 6, saw a photograph of Owen and Mzee, she asked her father, Craig Hatkoff, to help her write a book about them. [This book is the result of that request]. . . Dr. Paula Kahumbu, ecologist and conservationist, has devoted her life to studying wild animals and working
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to preserve and restore their fragile habitats. . .[She helped with this book]. . .Peter Greste is an internationally recognized broadcaster and photo-journalist. . .[His beautiful pictures complete this story]. . .It began in December 2004, when. . .[a] frightened young hippo, separated from his family by the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia, adopted an ancient Aldabra tortoise as his 'mother.' And the old tortoise, for years a loner, accepted the baby hippo as his own. . .[Amazingly. . .the pair seem to have developed their own 'language' of soft sounds and gestures. . . Pronunciation guide included.
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LibraryThing member Brightman
Compassion at work...



Physical description

40 p.; 10.98 x 9.72 inches


0439899591 / 9780439899598


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