Can We Be Friends?: Unexpected Animal Friendships from around the World

Can We Be Friends?: Unexpected Animal Friendships from around the World
Age Range
Release Date
September 01, 2020
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With charming, colorful illustrations, this heartwarming picture book in rhyming text asks an age-old question—can we be friends?

Take a journey exploring five unexpected animal friendships! This adorable picture book, based on real-life stories, showcases popular duos like Mzee the tortoise and Owen the hippo and Koko the gorilla and her kittens, as well as lesser-known ones like Kumbali the cheetah and Kago the dog. Includes backmatter.

A list of the unlikely animal friendships from around the world and introduced to young animal fans in Can We Be Friends?:

1. Owen the hippo and Mzee the tortoise (Kenya)

2. Kumbali the cheetah and Kago the dog (Virginia, USA)

3. Themba the elephant and Albert the sheep (South Africa)

4. Koko the gorilla and kittens (California, USA)

5. Ben the dog and Duggie the wild dolphin (Ireland)

This sweet picture book supports children as they learn about empathy and kindness.

Editor review

1 review
cute stories of unexpected animal friends
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
CAN WE BE FRIENDS? is a cute picture book about unlikely animal friendships. The book combines rhyming prose about each animal with stories about animal friendships in real life. The illustrations are really cute. The book includes some better known friendships, like Koko the gorilla and kittens, with some less known but really interesting friendships of a dog and dolphin and a turtle and hippopotamus. The last page asks who the reader could be friends with, suggesting going outside their comfort zone for new friends.

What I loved: The illustrations are sweet with lots of unique animal friendships. Paired with the rhyming phrases, this is a cute read for young readers. The real-life stories are pretty lengthy, making this book better for older picture book readers. This ends up being a pretty long book for reading aloud, but is great for children who like a more involved book but are not yet to chapter books. The moral of the story is important and encourages children to find new friends that they might not have thought at first glance.

Final verdict: Overall, this is a cute book of animal friendships with in-depth information about real-life unexpected friends. The colorful illustrations and rhyming phrases make this a sweet and fun read for elementary school aged children.
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