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Hannah's Dream (Max L. Biedelman Zoo #1)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  3,382 Ratings  ·  688 Reviews

An elephant never forgets . . . but can she dream?

For forty-one years, Samson Brown has been caring for Hannah, the lone elephant at the down-at-the-heels Max L. Biedelman Zoo. Having vowed not to retire until an equally loving and devoted caretaker is found to replace him, Sam rejoices when smart, compassionate Neva Wilson is hired as the new elephant keeper. But Neva qu

Kindle Edition, 319 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2008)
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Feb 03, 2017 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, own-read
Every so often you will come across a book that truly touches your heart and for me it was this book, Hannah's Dream. A really beautiful, heartfelt story about an elephant named Hannah and her keeper named Samson Brown (Sam).

Sam has been taking care of Hannah for forty one years in a rundown zoo. Sam's love for Hannah is heartwarming and there isn't anything Sam wouldn't do for his Hannah, but Sam isn't getting any younger and his health is beginning to deteriorate. It's time for Sam to find so
Nov 11, 2008 Joey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book has to be one of the best books I've ever read, honestly, I didn't want it to end. You fall in love with the main characters & can so picture everything actually happening, I want a sequel!!!! Thanks Diane for such a wonderful read!!!
Tara Affolter
Dec 28, 2008 Tara Affolter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hugged this book when i was finished.

Readers likely will gravitate to this book looking for a Water for Elephants-esque tale. Unfortunately, their search won't end here. This is a tale that veers dangerously into maudlin territory time and again. Where it falls very short of the mark is in portraying some rawness, some grit that would make it hit those many emotional chords that Water for Elephants does with such aplomb. Hammond went to some length to pluck on heart strings with a story line concerning a on
I'd heard about this book on NPR and put it on my To-Read List, so when I saw it on sale I snatched it up and started it even though I have a generally strict rule about reading only one book at a time...

I've heard it called a love story, and it is- but the thing I like most is the development of each of the characters right up until the end. I love Miles the pig and he and Truman's budding relationship. I laughed out loud so many times because I felt as though I had known a miniature pot bellie
Nov 11, 2008 Dottie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Dottie by: Joey
I absolutely loved Hannh's Dream. At the top of my favorites list along with Water for Elephants. You will fall in love withSam, Hannahs' caretaker, Hannah the elephant and his wife Corinna. Every character will live onin myheart. I imagine what they're doing now. Such a feel-good story. The author, Diane Hammond, has truly written one of the best stories I've ever read.
Feb 01, 2014 Jeanette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is truly one of the most beautiful stories I've ever read, I didn't want it to come to an end. Somewhat reminiscent of "Water for Elephants" or the children's novel "The One and Only Ivan". The story is about an aging elephant, Hannah, and her aging caretaker, Sam, they have been together for 41 years and Sam has passed on retirement twice because he worries what will happen to his "baby" when he's gone and will not leave until he knows she will be safe and well cared for. It is simple stor ...more
Dec 02, 2008 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful book about an elephant...
The characters are beautifully realized. I loved the subtle ironies, like how one character's ex-wife keeps accusing him of being deadly boring while he's in the middle of secreting an elephant out of a zoo. There is much to learn from this book on the art of crafting a distinctive voice for each character.
The book is remarkable for a literary adult novel--the characters are likable, and the ending is uplifting.
Plus I could believe in the people Hammond
Oct 06, 2014 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed "Hannah's Dream." I became very involved with all the characters and was charmed by them and how their relationships evolved. They all care deeply about Hannah, the aging elephant in a run down zoo and work together to assure the remainder of her life is lived peacefully. The characters are all lovable (except one) and the story is wonderful. I highly recommend to anyone who wants to get lost between the pages of a truly lovely story.
Oct 04, 2008 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable novel about an aging elephant and her aging handler. I love it when a story unfolds effortlessly and doesn't make you think the author is trying hard to make it so. This book does that. It is beautifully written.
Dec 13, 2008 Katrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal lovers
This book was amazing. There isn't a lot more to say about it. She captured what all of us who work with animals already know about how brilliant they are, and how very like us... Beautiful. Every animal lover should read this.
Mar 13, 2014 Peggy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hannah is an aging elephant at the Max L. Biedelman Zoo in Washington state. She has been cared for by Sam Brown for 41 years. Sam's diabetic feet are ulcerated which really connects him with Hannah as she has a constant abscess from her nightly shackles. Due to Sam's age and condition, he needs to retire. But what will become of Hannah? Sam is her one true friend. She has not been around another elephant for years. Surely, without placing her among other elephants, she will die.
A wonderful gr
Gene Geary
May 22, 2016 Gene Geary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderfully written tale which tells the story of an elephant, Hannah, and her keeper for 41 years, Sam. The character development is tremendous and gives the reader a visceral insight into the true nature of Sam and Hannah. The caring dynamic of their relationship is skillfully portrayed and the reader cannot help but love both characters. Sam and Hannah are surrounded by a secondary cast of characters that further enhance the book. They include, but are not limited to, Sam's headstrong and i ...more
Nov 08, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am going to enjoy recommending this book to lots of people. Hannah's zookeeper needs to retire due to his health but after 41 years together, the elephant will die without him. A new zookeeper comes on the picture and convinces him to help get Hannah to a new home with a new herd. A gentle read--easy to recommend to anyone. This story was inspired by Keiko the killer whale and its journey from captivity to the Antarctic. This is a good Water for Elephants readalike.

Hannah's Dream
Michelle Reading
Feb 02, 2014 Michelle Reading rated it it was amazing
It's all about soul

Excellent character development in a sweet multilevel love story.
Sam and Hannah a love story for the ages. They have been together for 41 years, never mind that Sam is an ailing 68 year old caretaker of Hannah a declining elephant. Their love and devotion is as strong and heartwarming as any I've read about.
I appreciated that the author chose to focus on the important aspects of the characters: heart, steadfastness, fears, generosity, while the less important aspects (race, se
Nov 14, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Hannah's Dream, author Diane Hammond takes a snippet of news footage about an aging elephant and her keeper and expands it into a marvelous novel. Hammond creates a vibrant and believable cast of characters to fill her fictional world not the least of which is the amazing elephant Hannah whose uncertain future is pivotal to the story. I was quickly and completley absorbed by the story and so will any reader who has ever looked into the eyes of an animal and seen a familiar soul looking back.
Deborah Escobar
Nov 09, 2013 Deborah Escobar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved every page of this book. The characters are expertly drawn and believable. I really felt involved in their lives. I felt like I could feel the soul of Hannah the elephant come right out through the pages. This is a book that made me feel really sad to reach the end, I did not want to leave.
Nov 18, 2008 Audrey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Audrey by: I found it by chance in the library
I loved this book. It was the elephant's version of the book The secret life of Bees. Great characters, interesting story and I love elephants. Definitely fiction but it feels like it could have been true
Tressa Brown
May 24, 2010 Tressa Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I learned that love is everywhere. You just have to look for it. I was touched by Corrina and Sam's devotion to each other and to Hannah.
Elizabeth Keifer
Wonderful true story about a man's efforts to save an elephant.
Bill Hall
Mar 29, 2009 Bill Hall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I finished Diane Hammond's novel, "Hannah's Dream," with a lump in my throat and joy in my heart.

"Hannah's Dream" is a well-crafted, heartfelt story of a 41-year love affair--between an elephant named Hannah and her long-time keeper, Samson "Sam" Brown. The tale is set at the fictional Max L. Biedelman Zoo in Washington State. The zoo was the proud creation of Maxine (Max was a woman, the daughter of a lumber magnate) Biedelman, who found her greatest joy in the green hills of Africa. The zoo wa
Mar 31, 2015 Ladory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely LOVED this book! The cover looks like a little girl and an elephant, so I had a bit of resistance to starting it. I did not want a sappy sweet story about an animal and a child. I must have read others' reviews, though, or I never would have bought it to read on my kindle. I had just finished a series of murder mysteries that were very intense, so I thought I really ought to read something in a kinder, gentler vein.

I sure was rewarded for wading into this one! The story includes a
Oct 07, 2008 Tracey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libraryread
Interview with author on NPR: Diane Rhem Show 2 Oct 2008.

Hannah the elephant has lived her life in a menagerie turned small-town zoo. She is inadequately housed, isolated and her main keeper has received no training in pachyderm care. The new zookeeper wants desperately to send Hannah to an Elephant Sanctuary, where she can live out the rest of her life in the company of her own kind.

However, this is no horror story; Samson Brown has cared for Hannah the best he could for 41 years, perhaps as
Annette Mardis
Oct 27, 2013 Annette Mardis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I grow up, I want to write like Diane Hammond.

That will never happen, but it's definitely something to aspire to. Her dialogue is authentic, her characters are well-drawn and her insights into the human condition are touching and true to life.

You'll fall in love with the everyday heroes in this novel, and you'll forever have a place in your heart for the fictional elephant for whom the novel is named.

"Hannah's Dream" is a story of hope, loss, love, humanity, quiet courage and the special
Lucy Stambaugh
Feb 12, 2016 Lucy Stambaugh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books
This was a fantastic book! Like the book "Water for Elephants" this book about a zoo (or circus) elephant not only pulls you in, but makes you remember why these creatures are so amazing. Not only am I visiting my local zoo tomorrow, but I bawled like a baby at the end of the book (much to the worry of my co-workers). Well written, diverse (yay!), and so engrossing, I will recommend this book to animals all day long.

I loved the diversity in this book. The main character is a PoC, as are his wif
Mar 11, 2009 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me wish I had an elephant - not really, but you cannot help but fall in love with Hannah. Hannah is the lone elephant at the Max L. Biedelman Zoo, where she has been under the care of Samson Brown for over 40 years.

The story is told amidst an interesting cast of characters, most of whom have Hannah's best interest at heart. The heart of the story is that Hannah needs are not being met by the zoo, and her caretaker is getting too old and sick to fulfill Hannah's needs.

Although I f
Jan 25, 2014 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful book! You can't help but to fall in love with the characters as well as the storyline. Sam has cared for Hannah the elephant for 41 years. He's aging and worries about what will happen to her when (IF) he retires. Told touchingly and with delicate care, Diane Hammond crafts a beautiful story of compassion, devotion and emotions. This is a must read for animal lovers, and even if you don't love animals I can't imagine anyone reading this and not being touched by some aspect or ch ...more
This is a nice story about an elephant and her caretaker. Hannah and Sam's close relationship is central, surrounded by the people Sam works with in a small zoo. The plot thickens when, for various reasons, it becomes clear that Hannah will need to be moved to an elephant sanctuary to live with her kind, although she hasn't seen another elephant in 40 years.
The plot is pretty predictable, the characters are likable, and the writing is okay. All in all, a beach read that is light and entertaining
Oct 23, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not from Oregon so being part of a book discussion group on the coast has given me a different direction regarding authors and subject matter. Upcoming discussion book is Friday Harbor by Diane Hammond, and everyone else in the group was very familiar with its prequel Hannah's Dream. I was assured that Friday Harbor was a stand-alone sequel; even so, I'm glad I took the time to read a novel about an elephant named Hannah and Samson Brown, the man who has been her caretaker for forty-one year ...more
Jul 19, 2009 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A couple of my frequent complaints with book is that there are too many characters for the auther to fully flesh out and that is really stretches credibility to have so many problems having occurred in the characters lives. Hammond manages to craft a story here that has a fair number of characters, all with damages in their past, that overcomes my complaints. The characters are so real right up to and including the elephant, Hannah. I was fairly confident that I knew, early on, how the story wou ...more
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Great Book! 1 3 Mar 16, 2016 06:58PM  
All About Animals: Hannah's Dream by Diane Hammond 6 13 May 23, 2015 01:56PM  
Who's your favorite character? 9 39 Nov 05, 2013 03:31AM  
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I'm 53, and it's hard to believe that anyone could possibly care about where I was born, but for the sake of due diligence, it was in Queens, NY. I grew up in Upper Nyack, a suburb of New York City, without a lot of drama, and the most important thing I learned in my four years at Middlebury College in Vermont was that I could write in James Joyce's stream-of-consciousness style fluently and for l ...more
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Max L. Biedelman Zoo (2 books)
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“Why did we divorce? I guess you could say we had trouble synchronizing. You know that carnival ride where two cages swing in opposite directions, going higher and higher until they go over the top? That was us. We passed each other all the time, but we never actually stopped in the same place until it was time to get off the ride.” 18 likes
“They also learned that not everything broken could be fixed, and that not everything ruined could be thrown away. Sometimes the damaged things were all you had to work with.” 17 likes
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