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Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships
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Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  215 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
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
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 23rd 2011 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Owen and Mzee by Isabella HatkoffTarra & Bella by Carol BuckleyOwney, the Mail-Pouch Pooch by Mona KerbyAlex the Parrot by Stephanie SpinnerMAMA by Jeanette Winter
True Animal Stories for Kids
26th out of 31 books — 8 voters
Kate & Pippin by Martin SpringettFriends by Catherine ThimmeshOwen and Mzee by Isabella HatkoffTarra & Bella by Carol BuckleyTwo Bobbies by Kirby Larson
Animal Friendships
2nd out of 16 books — 1 voter

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 471)
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Oh my, the photos here are adorable. The baby badger is the cutest thing EVER. Reminds me totally of Frances the Badger from the children's book series.

Each spread features a poem about friendship accompanied by a photo of an unlikely pair of buddies: a kit fox and the baby badger, a cheetah and an Anatolian Shepherd, an orangutan and a tabby cat, and more, including several who would be natural enemies in the wild. Beneath the poetry, in a smaller font, is a brief description of the actual rel
Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships by Catherine Thimmesh is a compendium of unusual animal friendships, with striking photographs of the animals.

The photographs, taken by a number of photographers, will really grab readers, especially animal lovers and kids. My favorite images include cat and orangutan, camel and pig, capybarra and squirrel monkey, cat and Asiatic Bear, and baby orangutan and tiger cub.

The poems are nice and the details interesting, in this compendium of u
Eva Leger
May 05, 2012 Eva Leger rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book - it really is. Animal relationships are fascinating to me and Julia so finding this was perfect. The stories shown here include a baby macaque and pigeon, an orangutan and a cat, a camel and a Vietnamese miniature pig, a giraffe and an ostrich, a lion cub and piglet, a Basset Hound and an owl, a frog and mouse, a baby badger and baby fox, a capybara and squirrel monkey, (this is so fantastic!) a polar bear and a chained Eskimo sled dog, (this is another!) an Asiatic bear ...more
Amanda Snow
Jun 29, 2011 Amanda Snow rated it liked it
Originally posted at:

One word. ADORABLE. The animal friendships featured in this book are completely unexpected, but so much fun to read about. From the orangutan and the tabby cat to the badger and the fox and my favorite, the dog and the cheetah, you'll be "awwwwing" all the way through the book and the kids won't be able to stop flipping through either.

I loved the inclusion of a short poem on each page about friendship for each animal pair, such a nice touch to the
Aug 03, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncbla
Friendships are often formed by those who have something in common, but sometimes, strange events in life prompt the most unlikely friendships to spring up. This book put me in mind of Owen and Mzee, the baby hippo and tortoise who bonded after the 2004 tsunami. Thimmesh has selected 13 unlikely animal pairings from 14 photographs and proceeds to describe what drew them together. If some of the friendships are fleeting and almost unfathomable, they also serve to remind readers that we all have s ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This book is a gem! Each 2-page spread tells about a pair unusual animal friends, all found in zoos, sanctuaries, or other captive places except for the frog and the mouse. The text includes quotes about friendship and the background behind the unusual friendships. The pictures are so cute, the animals so adorable! Pair this with Own and Mzee. You won't stop saying, "Awwwww..." until the end of the book. Highly recommended!
Edward Sullivan
Candid, heartwarming snapshots of a Peacable Kingdom. A book every animal lover will want. Libraries will want to have multiple copies.
Dec 23, 2011 Treasure rated it liked it
This nonfiction picture book offers one surprising and unusual animal friendship on each two page spread. On the left is brief, rhyming text about friendship, with smaller, lengthier text below it explaining the story behind the friendship and picture. The right side of the page features a large, colorful picture of two animals in a real life, unexpected friendship moment.
Some animal pairs are long term friends, while other are only captured in a picture for a moment of meeting that does not occ
Julia Jasztal
Jan 08, 2013 Julia Jasztal rated it it was amazing
(Mommy's review from 5/12)

This is an amazing book - it really is. Animal relationships are fascinating to me and Julia so finding this was perfect. The stories shown here include a baby macaque and pigeon, an orangutan and a cat, a camel and a Vietnamese miniature pig, a giraffe and an ostrich, a lion cub and piglet, a Basset Hound and an owl, a frog and mouse, a baby badger and baby fox, a capybara and squirrel monkey, (this is so fantastic!) a polar bear and a chained Eskimo sled dog, (this is
Oct 21, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it
Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships was written by Catherine Thimmesh and is an informational book all about the unique relationships of animals that would normally be enemies to one another.
The characters of this story are all from different places. They have different homes, eat different foods, and get around in different ways. But the unique thing about them is that they are all united by strange friendships. Each animal in this story was either lonely, hungry, tired,
Kacy Sullivan
Oct 21, 2012 Kacy Sullivan rated it it was amazing
Cute, Cuddly, and heartwarming, Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships, written by Catherine Thimmesh is a book about animals who have for one reason or another become friends, even when the laws of nature would tell us otherwise. Throughout the book, there is a poem about what friendship means, and how friends treat one another. On each page there is also a photograph of animals from around the world that have made friends with animals of another species. And along with each ...more
From the very beginning, this book tugged at my heartstrings. I like the play on words with each little poem in the beginning; it’s clever and fun to figure out. These stories explored the limitless means of friendship which is such an important thing to teach kids at a young age. Not only are the pictures adorable, but there is a beautiful message being conveyed: friends come in all shapes, sizes, and species!
Laura Salas
Mar 10, 2012 Laura Salas rated it really liked it
Friends celebrates unexpected friendships. One rhyming poem spans the entire picture book, and each spread has an oh-my-lord adorable animal pair photograph and a brief prose passage describing the animals' circumstances/relationship. The photos are simply irresistible (Robert Palmer, get out of my head). The lion cub and piglet and the orangutan and tiger cub are my favorites! I love the stories about the animals. At first, I was unsure about including some that were such brief relationships, b ...more
Kate Hastings
May 29, 2016 Kate Hastings rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, animals
Grades 1-4. One of the Buckeye Children's Book Award nominees for 2013. I was really surprised the students enjoyed this as much as they did. The book features unusual animal friendships (pig and camel, cheetah and dog, owl and dog, frog and mouse). The book is a poem about qualities of friendships. In smaller print at the bottom were facts about the animal friendship. This was a good book for modeling text elements (smaller print, bigger print, photographs). I paired this with a clip from Natio ...more
Sharon Lawler
Photo essay with descriptions about real friendships between different species in the animal world---A cheetah and a dog, a giraffe and an ostrich, for instance. If these creatures can learn to share and nurture, why is is so hard for the human race?
Jun 05, 2013 Samantha rated it really liked it
A collection of stories about animal friendships, often formed between species who in the wild regard one another as enemies. A poem introduces and sums up each pair's extraordinary friendship and then a brief paragraph provides zoo information and details about how the animals came to prefer each other's company. Text is mirrored by a full color, full page photo of the animal pairs interacting.

This is a great family read. The photos will charm everyone and the stories will touch their hearts.

Sam Gallagher
Jun 07, 2016 Sam Gallagher rated it really liked it
Friends is a compilation of true stories of unlikely animal friendships from all shapes and sizes and in all sorts of places. Kids will love the real life photography and the telling of each animals' true friendship. A great way to talk to kids about unlikely friendships and how they can even happen with animals. Kids would certainly be fascinated by this book and I was as well when reading about the cute couples. If a tiger and a monkey can be friends, so can anyone else!
Sep 28, 2012 Hailee rated it really liked it
This nonfiction picture book by Catherine Thimmesh displays unthinkable friendships between polar opposite animals, such as a tiger cub and a baby orangutan, or a polar bear and a pack of sled dogs. While most of these friendships didn't last long due to the animal's safety, this book uses rhyming words to distinguish the depth of each individual friendship. The photographs throughout the book are heartwarming and any aged reader will fall in love with each unusual story. "Friends" reiterates th ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Dolly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a sweet book of short stories about different animals finding comfort from one another. Often, these animals are considered quite incompatible or unlikely to form a bond with one another, but they do so anyway. Whether it was for a few moments or for years, the big, colorful photos capture the essence of the companionship. The narrative includes a small poem and a short narrative that describes how each animal pair became friends. We enjoyed reading this book together and have read it a ...more
Debby Baumgartner
Jan 21, 2016 Debby Baumgartner rated it did not like it
Shelves: animals, photography
Brief descriptions of how different animals bond. Good photographs.
Apr 03, 2014 Jill rated it really liked it
The kids and I love these true animal friend stories. This one was fun because there were multiple stories and each one started with a little poem.
Aug 09, 2013 Stan rated it liked it
The Internet gives us cute pictures of cats or dogs. This book gives us cute pictures of unlikely animal friendships. The book cover being a perfect example. Catherine Thimmesh adds light poetry about friendship, inspired by the individual pictures, and a brief explanation of the setting for the friendship. This is a lovely diversion. And it suggests that even unlikely individuals can be friends. Could we learn something from this?
Cally O'Brien
Audience: Animal lovers, science teachers, librarians looking for read aloud with animal or friendship theme,

Appeal: This book has two levels of text that extend it's audience from young children who like to look at the animal pictures to older children and adults who are interested in the stories behind the pictures.

California Reading Association's Eureka! Nonfiction Children's Book Award-2012
Jennifer Borduin
Jan 22, 2012 Jennifer Borduin rated it it was amazing
This is an EXCELLENT book on unlikely friendships among animals. Children can discuss the different animals, why they became friends, what makes the duo work, and whether or not they could be friends in the wild. This could be a great intro science lesson into species, and how animals behave differently when captured rather than living in the wild.
Shannon Considine
This book shows images of unlikely animal friendships, such as the cover’s monkey and tiger buddy pair. Since the animals are so different from each other, this book can be used to discuss differences that can exist between friends, tolerating others, and making the effort to spend time with and getting to know someone different from yourself.
Sep 02, 2011 June rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: animal lovers, parents, teachers
Recommended to June by: Polly
A sweet book, which gives a brief glimpse of several across species friendships. My son Andrew read it and was taken with the bear and cat friendship and drew a picture of them for his summer reading report.

I have also placed a hold for Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer Holland at MCPL, which was highlighted in the neighborhood paper.
From time to time, I receive cute animal pictures in my email. Those photos seem to provide the basis for this book. While I thought many of the animal photos were adorable, the text was clunky at times and revealed that many of these encounters were random moments-- not friendships of the lasting sort. I struggled to see the point.
Janice  Durante
Aug 24, 2011 Janice Durante rated it really liked it
Animal lovers of all stripes will want to paw this bright new book with simple, poetic text and striking photographs of unusual animal pairs. See my review at http://readaloudsforallchildren.wordp...
And thanks to Catherine Thimmesh for the free, autographed copy.
Guaranteed to make you go, "Awwwwww!" This is informational pleasure-reading. I didn't think the rhymes about friendship added much to the book, but the photos are adorable, and hearing how the friends on each page met was great. Good for a quick read-aloud, and kids will want to pore over it independently.
Karen Arendt
Dec 17, 2011 Karen Arendt rated it it was amazing
A beautifully photographed book with one story per two page spread. Each true story is of an unusual pairing of animals who become friends for a few days, a few months, and sometimes for a lifetime. I plan to pair this book with Tarra and Bella for my kindergarten nonfiction lesson.
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