Ruth's Reviews > Half Brother

Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel
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Nov 21, 11

Read on November 21, 2011

Thirteen-year-old Ben Tomlin is moved from Toronto to Vancouver with his family so that his behavioral scientist father can bring a chimpanzee into their family to see if it can learn American Sign Language. The burden of the work falls on Ben's mom and student helpers. Ben is uncomfortable at first making Zan his brother, but he comes to love him.
Spoiler: A renowned linguist determines that Zan is only learning words and not "language." and the experiment ends. Then Zan is sold. When they learn that the new owner may sell Zan for animal testing, Ben and his mom steal Zan. Publicity helps raise money to buy the chimp, but, ultimately, Zan goes to a rescue center.
Some of the conflict btween Ben and his dad is due to the father's upbringng.
I wonder is one could transport a chimp easily between Canada and the USA, given that you can't bring fruits and vegetbles into California. Too picky?
This book could lead to great discussions of animals rights, of what it is to be human, and what is language.
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Nicole Actually, he moved to Victoria. They just stopped in Vancouver to catch a ferry.


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