Half Brother

Featured
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
2458 0
Half Brother
Author(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
September 01, 2010
ISBN
0545229251
Buy This Book
      
For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his mother brings home Zan ? an eight-day-old chimpanzee. Ben's father, a renowned behavioral scientist, has uprooted the family to pursue his latest research project: a high-profile experiment to determine whether chimpanzees can acquire advanced language skills. Ben's parents tell him to treat Zan like a little brother. Ben reluctantly agrees. At least now he's not the only one his father's going to scrutinize. It isn't long before Ben is Zan's favorite, and Ben starts to see Zan as more than just an experiment. His father disagrees. Soon Ben is forced to make a critical choice between what he is told to believe and what he knows to be true ? between obeying his father or protecting his brother from an unimaginable fate. Half Brother isn't just a story about a boy and a chimp. It's about the way families are made, the way humanity is judged, the way easy choices become hard ones, and how you can't always do right by the people and animals you love. In the hands of master storyteller Kenneth Oppel, it's a novel you won't soon forget.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

A Pleasant Surprise
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

HALF BROTHER by Kenneth Oppel was a fairly enjoyable middle grade read. The novel takes place in the 1970s, and is about a boy, Ben, whose parents adopt a chimpanzee and will raise him as if he were human. Now, this isn’t any old random adoption. Ben’s parents are scientists and the experiment, the effects of cross-fostering, is all in the name of science, delving deeper into the debate of nature vs. nurture and exactly what separates humans from apes.

From the start, life is rocky for Ben. First of all, in order for his parents to adopt the chimp and conduct their research, the family must move all the way across Canada, settling on the West Coast. Ben receives a detention on the first day because a group of boys have decided to give the “new boy” a hard time. But also, it is clear to the reader that for his parents, research comes first. His parents did talk it over with him before they adopted the chimp, Zan, but once the experiment starts, Ben seems to be little more than an afterthought. His parents throw all of their attention into their work, forcing Ben to adjust to his new life mostly on his own.

Thankfully, he eventually meets some good friends, one, Jennifer (I think 90% of girls living in the 70s were named Jennifer,) has girlfriend potential. There is one word of caution. Even though this would fall squarely in the middle grade category, there is talk of Jennifer’s breasts in a bikini, maybe a judgment call for parents of readers on the lower end of the middle grade spectrum. There is also a scene where Ben is passed a cigarette and takes a puff. This is the 70s, after all. Like girls named Jennifer, I think having a scene with teenage smoking is almost compulsory. Although I was never older than five during the 70s, I think this book captures the spirit of the 70s nicely. I particularly like when Ben as narrators says, “It was 1973, and if we could build space stations (Skylab) and the world’s tallest structure (CN Tower,) we couldn’t we teach a chimp to talk?”

Another scene involving breasts is actually quite humorous. Ben walks in on his mother breastfeeding Zan. She talks about how the ordeal is actually painful. That has to be frightening for any son, but especially in that type of situation.

Overall, I think HALF BROTHER is a solid read for most 12-13 year olds. The vocabulary should not be overly tough for a reader in this age group. There are, in my opinion, some extended lull in the middle of the novel where it seems there isn’t much exciting that happens. But the humor, which this book is full of, helps break up the worst of the monotony. I think if there boys who are interested in science or animals will enjoy this novel in particular.

Good Points
Humorous
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 1 1

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Bird Show
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Award-winning author-illustrator Susan Stockdale welcomes you to the Bird Show,...
My Book of Feelings (My World)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Inspired by the Montessori method of education this unique board...
Sweet & Bitter Magic
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery...
The Smile Shop
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Critically-acclaimed author-illustrator Satoshi Kitamura (Hat Tricks) celebrates the value of...
Stanley's Lunch Box
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everyone’s favorite hard-working hamster Stanley introduces young readers to a...
What Are Unicorns Made Of?
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Have you ever wondered what unicorns are made of? Are...
Grandfather Bowhead, Tell Me a Story
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Richly illustrated and lovingly told, this book is a warm...
Stanley's Toy Box
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everyone’s favorite hard-working hamster Stanley teams up with friends to...
Sing Me Forgotten
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Isda does not exist. At least not beyond the opulent...
A Story of Giants - Book 1
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
What if I told you that we are not alone,...
Peek-a-Boo Little Reindeer
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this adorable peek-a-boo board book with felt flaps, a...
Perfect on Paper
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In Sophie Gonzales' Perfect on Paper, Leah on the Offbeat...
11 Paper Hearts
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of To All the Boys I've Loved...
shine your icy crown
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
“Make them rue the day they underestimated you.” ...
The Castle School (for Troubled Girls)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
From New York Times bestselling author Alyssa Sheinmel comes the...
Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Discover the incredible story of a young daughter of immigrants...

Latest Member Reviews

 
5.0
"This was an adventure from start to finish. I love Polly and her determination to not give up. Gorgeous setting..."
The Slug Queen Chronicles
 
5.0
"When Cricket finds out that the dust she's seen her whole life has magical properties and her late mother could..."
Welcome to Chanu-Con!
 
5.0
"An adorable children's story about an important subject. The story: Max and Lila are celebrating..."
The Crystal of Gaea. Aki and the Spheres of Time #5
 
5.0
"Aki and Lilith are off on another exciting adventure, this time to the world of Ancient Greek mythology. This..."
The Crystal of Gaea. Aki and the Spheres of Time #5
 
5.0
"Another amazing adventure of Aki on the Parallel Crystal"
La Petite Josette en Provence: Going to Les Baux-de-Provence (Voyage aux Baux-de-Provence)
 
4.2
"'La Petite Josette En Provence' by Ashley Davidson-Fisher, illustrated by Martinique Louise Fisher, who so happens to be the author's..."
Cloud of Witnesses
 
4.4
"The Lifters Dave Eggers, Alfred A. Knopf, 2018 Is magic enough to fix the morass of Middle America? Are..."
Ranch Hero
 
4.8
"This story deals with loss, which is usually a very sensitive and difficult subject, in an uplifting and entertaining way..."
The Black and White Ball
 
5.0
"This is a delightful story about a very vain peacock who sets about ensuring he is the most beautiful creature..."
 
5.0
"Good book for middle school kids- a true snapshot of the struggle to fit in the middle school social scene..."
The Crystal of Rea Silvia. Aki and the Spheres of Time #4
 
5.0
"The book was just simply great! Surprises, twists and stuffs! Well I just loved Aki and his amazing adventures!..."
The Crystal of Rea Silvia. Aki and the Spheres of Time #4
 
5.0
"This exciting fourth adventure begins with Aki learning about a startling family secret and having to choose between telling the..."
Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13
 
4.5
"'Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13' by Barbara Roman, illustrated by Vladimir Cebu, is a sweet..."
Sal the Seagull Stole My Lunch
 
4.2
"This one is a lot of fun. Joe and Mary are getting ready to have a picnic at..."
 
4.8
"As a mother and tutor for young children, I highly recommend this novel to add to your children's book shelves...."
The Year Santa Stubbed His Toe
 
4.0
"Santa has always been there to deliver gifts to the good boys and girls around the world, but this year,..."
Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13
 
N/A
"Have you ever noticed how people are like light bulbs? They come in many sizes and shapes, varying in their..."
Felipe Femur
 
5.0
"While this book in occupied by a cast of monsters, it is far from scary. It is also not solely..."
The Crystal Of Atum. Aki and the Spheres of Time #3
 
5.0
"I am so pleased by The Crystal of Atum. I love Aki and the Spheres of Time series. This book..."
The Crystal Of Atum. Aki and the Spheres of Time #3
 
4.8
"This is Aki’s third trip with the Sphere of Time. As usual, he ends up nowhere near the spot where..."