AND MZEE - THE BEST SELLER !
CHUMS - Hippo 'Owen'
and tortoise 'Mzee' in their home at Bamburi's Haller
Park near Mombasa.. PHOTO
- COURTESY: PETER
TRUE STORY OF BABY HIPPO
ORPHANED BY TSUNAMI AND ADOPTED BY GIANT
TORTOISE ... CAPTURES WORLD'S IMAGINATION
- - Scholastic,
the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books,
Turtle Pond Publications and Lafarge Eco Systems have announced the
publication in New York, U.S.A. of "Owen
and Mzee: the True Story of a Remarkable Friendship."
story of hope and resilience chronicles the incredible friendship
formed between Owen, a baby hippo orphaned by the Tsunami, and Mzee, a
giant Aldabran tortoise who has become Owen's surrogate parent and
puzzled - but still
strangely attracted - 'Owen' cautiously approaches the
apparently indifferent Aldabran tortoise.
- COURTESY: SAM HOPKINS
by Craig Hatkoff, his seven-year-old daughter Isabella and Lafarge's
Dr. Paula Kahumbu, the book is set to be released in March, and will
feature extraordinary photographs by journalist Peter Greste.
publishing company, Turtle Pond Publication, acquired the rights from
Lafarge Eco Systems Limited that operates the Haller Park preserve in
Mombasa Kenya where Owen and Mzee now live together.
year after the unlikely pair was first joined at Haller Park in
Mombasa, their bond is stronger than ever baffling scientists and
marking one of the most unusual animal relationships that has ever
Park is a rehabilitated quarry with a thriving ecosystem and a place
where visitors from around the world can come see Owen and Mzee in
addition to other wildlife such as giraffes, hippos, antelopes and
buffaloes to name a few of its many attractions of Nature.
and Mzee" embodies the global unity that emerged in a time of
world was wrought by a string of natural disasters that has
traumatized so many children directly and indirectly.
and Mzee" chronicles the dramatic rescue and ensuing friendship
between a baby hippo named Owen and the 130-year-old giant tortoise
Owen became stranded after the December 2004 Tsunami, a group of
residents and local fishermen in Malindi, a few kilometers from
Mombasa worked tirelessly to rescue him.
was then brought to the Haller Park preserve by Dr. Kahumbu, where the
orphan hippo and the elderly tortoise adopted one another.
e-mailed from friend to friend quickly made Owen and Mzee worldwide
they are inseparable they swim, eat and play together.
to Scientists at Haller Park, it is reported that Owen and Mzee have
become so emotionally connected, that they have recently developed
their own language.
lets the tortoise pass
him by and then slowly moves in from the rear.
PHOTO - COURTESY: SAM
seeing Peter Greste's photograph of Owen and Mzee in the newspaper,
Isabella asked her father if they could write a book about them.
instantly connected with the heartwarming relationship between the two
animals," Hatkoff said.
is a story of hope and resilience that has universal appeal and that
works on so many levels."
Hatkoff and his daughter corresponded via email with Dr. Kahumbu and
Greste who were in Kenya.
co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, worked alongside the team to
create an e-book that was launched in May at the Festival.
Five O'Clock News and The NYU Child Study Center collaborated in the
creation of the e-book, supplementing it with an accompanying Parents
and Teachers Guide.
a longstanding festival partner, approached Hatkoff at the Festival
with the idea of publishing the book.
story of Owen and Mzee is a tender reminder that in times of trouble,
friendship is stronger than the differences that sometimes keep us
apart," said Lisa Holton, President Children's Books and Book
delighted to work with our Tribeca Film Festival partners to bring
this touching story to children and adults everywhere through
Scholastic's unique distribution channels."
and Mzee's story affirms not only the power of friendship, but also
the positive effect of our corporate commitment to sustainability of
the environment and preservation of Nature," Dr. Kahumbu of
Lafarge Eco Systems said.
care for Owen and Mzee has been deeply gratifying for us, and we look
forward to reading the book to them at Haller Park."
is the third book Hatkoff has written with two daughters. In 2001,
and daughter Juliana, now 11, wrote two books: "Good-bye
Tonsils" and then "Ladder 35, Engine 40" to convey a
child's way of coping with her emotions following the tragedy of
Pond published the story in conjunction with the New York University
Child Study Center.
was Isabella's turn and we found a great story in Owen and Mzee."
- - [January
a cursory sniff and a snort
'Owen' decides that this could be the beginning a long and
lasting friendship ... and follows on behind.
PHOTO - COURTESY: SAM HOPKINS