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SURYIA & ROSCOE by Bhagavan "Doc" Antle


The True Story of an Unlikely Friendship

by Bhagavan "Doc" Antle & Thea Feldman & photographed by Barry Bland

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 26th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9316-2
Publisher: Henry Holt

Young animal lovers, especially those compelled by the story of the stranded baby hippo and giant tortoise introduced in Isabella and Craig Hatkoffs’ Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship (2006), will be eager to read about this unlikely pairing between a stray dog and an orangutan in a wildlife preserve. Charming, close-up full-color photos show expressions on the animals' faces and convey their closeness. While it seems clear that the pictures were staged after the fact—when Roscoe first arrives at the preserve he is "thin and he needed a bath," but the photo shows a sleek, healthy Roscoe, for example—most kids won't care about that; they'll simply want to see more of the friends having fun. Suryia seems nearly human in his interactions with Roscoe: He smiles, hugs and poses for the camera, which could spark discussions about the fact that all living things are related, especially how and why primates are similar to people. A surprising amount of information about animals is folded into the brief narrative: It's explained that dogs smile by wagging their tails and that dogs and orangutans aren't normally friends; also, other animals living at the preserve are shown. The clean, photo album–like design, high-interest topic, accessible text and captivating images will likely garner Suryia and Roscoe legions of new friends. (author's note, map)  (Picture book. 4-8)