by Jeffrey Moussaieff MassonMasson distills his best-selling books on animal emotions into this volume for young readers. True stories of unusual friendships between species, as well as courageous acts of heroism by animals are profiled in this colorfully-illustrated book.
Friends is not just an enjoyable read for grade school animal lovers, but a tremendous humane education resource, as well. Masson, for example, explains the concept of empathy, a cornerstone of humane values:
[W]hen we see a dog chained up in a yard all by herself, looking lonely and sad, we cannot say that the dog feels exactly what we would feel if confined somewhere. But we know for certain the dog is feeling something like what we feel when we are lonely. We can feel empathy for the dog, just as a dog who has lived with you for years knows when you feel sad and comes over to lick your face or your hand in sympathy.
We are, at times, reminded of both our differences and our similarities with the animal kingdom. After an especially touching story about an elephant’s dramatic rescue of her calf, the author notes:
[W]e are not alone in our love for children. Many animals share this with us.
An especially sobering thought when we ponder the ways we destroy the maternal bonds of these magnificent creatures: elephant herds are poached and “culled” before the eyes of their terrified youngsters, and circuses routinely pull baby elephants away from their mothers to put them on the training and show circuit.
Friends would be a remarkable, pro-animal work even if Masson had not inserted discussion of animal ethics into the mix. Happily, he does take this extra step, drawing his love for animals to his logical conclusion.
Many of us think we love animals. Some of us can carry that love pretty far. We take animals to doctors when they are sick; we sleep in the same room with them; we celebrate their birthdays; we buy them toys and games. I do not like the thought of eating my friends, so a while ago I stopped eating animal flesh.
Despite some awkward lines here and there, this one’s an animal ethics winner. The only complaint I have is relatively minor: the illustrator depicts images of African elephants even when the stories clearly identify the principal subjects as Asian elephants.
I purchased this book for my library.
|Title||Dogs Have the Strangest Friends & Other True Stories of Animal Feelings|
|eBook format||Hardcover, (torrent)|
|Author||Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson|
|File size||6.2 Mb|
|Book rating||4.2 (15 votes)