Hatkoff, C. and Kahumbu, P. (2006). Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship. Gretse, P. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction
Just as the title suggests, this is indeed a remarkable story. A flood (caused by the huge tsunami of 2004) leaves Owen, a baby hippo, stranded behind while his mother and pod are pulled out into the sea. Hundreds of villagers worked together to rescue the frightened and angered baby Owen. Dr. Paula Kahumbu and Stephen Tuei welcomed Owen into their animal sanctuary—Haller Park. Mzee, a 130 years old Aldabra tortoise, was already living in Haller Park but he was not friendly. However, Owen immediately sought comfort from Mzee and it wasn’t long before Mzee was just as fond of Owen. Owen was able to cope with the loss of his mother and pod because of the unlikely and remarkable bond he was able to form with Mzee.
This true story made headlines and whirled up a media frenzy, I am not sure how I was kept out of the loop. It is easy to see how this story fascinated the world. It is amazing how the villagers came together to rescue Owen after their village was hit hard by the tsunami and very touching that Mzee was able to offer him a friendship after losing his family. There is a miracle to be found in every tragedy.
My wild thing (son) loved the story so much that we searched the internet for more information and I came across this website devoted to their story and thought I would share—enjoy! http://www.owenandmzee.com/omweb/
*Written February 2012