Monday, December 7, 2009

Tarra & Bella: The elephant and dog who became best friends

Booklist (October 1, 2009 (Vol. 106, No. 3))
Grades K-1. If you didn’t hear this story when it hit the TV and Internet circuits, you saved yourself a box of hankies. Tarra is a resident of the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, a natural habitat for needy elephants. As the copious photos and straightforward text explain, many of the elephants pair off into BFFs. Tarra had no such buddy until she mysteriously struck up a friendship with a dog named Bella. They did everything together: walked, played, bathed, ate, and even barked. Cute, but hardly newsworthy—until Bella hurt her spine. For two days Tarra did not move from the spot where she had alerted people of her injured friend, then she beelined for the barn where Bella was recuperating. Her vigil became the stuff of interspecies legend, and the 12-picture montage of their reunion, with Tarra’s trunk curling affectionately around the mutt, is indeed something to behold. The photos make good use of the animals’ disparity in size, and the text doesn’t strain itself by trying to make the story unnecessarily earth-shattering. A sweet and sincere offering.

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