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Half Brother von Kenneth Oppel
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Half Brother (Original 2010; 2010. Auflage)

von Kenneth Oppel

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
5233336,129 (4)12
In 1973, when a renowned Canadian behavioral psychologist pursues his latest research project--an experiment to determine whether chimpanzees can acquire advanced language skills--he brings home a baby chimp named Zan and asks his thirteen-year-old son to treat Zan like a little brother.
Mitglied:elizabeth.a.coates
Titel:Half Brother
Autoren:Kenneth Oppel
Info:Scholastic Press (2010), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 384 pages
Sammlungen:Noch zu lesen
Bewertung:
Tags:Keine

Werk-Informationen

Half Brother von Kenneth Oppel (2010)

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Zan, a chimpanzee, becomes part of Ben’s family as a participant in an advanced sign language experiment. Ben grows to love Zan as a brother; and as the research concludes, Ben has to make a difficult choice between obeying his father and protecting Zan.
  NCSS | Jul 23, 2021 |
This novel is of an early language experiment done with chimpanzees, in the seventies. It’s told from the viewpoint of a teenager whose parents work at a university. They bring home an infant chimp to raise in their home- to see if it can learn to communicate with sign language. Ben is annoyed at first, jealous of how much attention the chimpanzee demands. He’s also not happy having to attend a new school, dealing with pressure from his parents to get better grades, navigating an intense new interest in girls and trying to figure all that out while making new friends. Gradually he becomes more involved with Zan, the chimp, and starts to relate things he’s learned from his mother’s books (Jane Goodall!) with Zan’s behavior, also comparing to humans. He decides to be methodical in his efforts to win a girl’s attention- keeping notes on things she likes in a logbook similar to how his parents keep notes on Zan, and starts interpreting how kids behave at school- constantly shifting social status and all- with “alpha” chimp behavior. That was both funny and interesting. The family is eager to see how Zan starts picking up sign language and using it, but they come under scrutiny from the university department who brings in an expert challenging their ideas- is Zan really learning language? or is he just cleverly imitating signs to get rewards? There’s issues renewing their grant, and it becomes harder to manage keeping Zan- while he can be cute and endearing, at barely two years old he’s already stronger than any one human, can become aggressive without much notice and makes horrendous messes. This all leads to Ben’s parents deciding the chimpanzee must go- probably to a research facility where he can live with other chimps. Ben protests- he’s become fond of Zan and feels like the chimp is his little brother now- and he feels it’s unfair to treat the chimp as part of a human family and then ditch him in a new environment- will he be able to adjust? Ben’s outrage spurs him to some hasty, questionable actions- and while the ending was satisfying I felt it concluded a bit too quickly.

Overall I liked this book- I’ve read quite a few in the past about language experiments like this that were actually done with chimpanzees and gorillas, and I think this was a very well-rounded look at that for teens. It touches on all the issues without really diving deeply into any one thing- is the chimpanzee a family member or just an experimental subject? what is he really learning from them? what’s the best way to treat him fairly? At the end there are glimpses of different ways chimps are treated in other facilities- some quite grim and others more benign. Reading this made me look to see if I have other nonfiction books on similar topics on my shelf.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Mar 25, 2021 |
Synopsis: Ben's father obtains a baby chimpanzee as part of an experiment to teach it to learn sign language, with the eventual expectation that it will provide an insight into life as a chimpanzee and the animal kingdom.
As part of the experiment, the family relocates to Canada and the baby Chimpanzee ('Zan') is treated as a baby human would be - even being breastfed by Ben's mother on occasions.
Ben has to make new friends at his new school, and his parents disagree with some of his friendship choices.
My Opinion: This book was a really easy read and I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters and reading about Zan's progress. A lot of themes were addressed in this book - coming of age, family, trust and love to name a few.
Yes, there were some minor things that bothered me when reading it, particularly when it came to the Father (*spoiler* it seems a bit unrealistic that a family would obtain a chimpanzee without securing the grant beforehand, and how he was so eager to put the chimpanzee in the seat in the bedroom despite everyone informing him it was going to be a bad idea as Zan did not like to sit, and Ben and his mother often disagree with the father however the father seems to make the final decision of the household. Also he seems to be terrible with managing money, as with the loan aforementioned, and the father selling his Mercedes for only $10k *spoiler*) but I was able to look past these discrepancies and see the book for what it really was - a bond between human and animal, child and baby chimpanzee, and the development of the chimpanzee.
The book has stayed with me in my mind for a while - in a good way. ( )
  Moniica | Jan 31, 2019 |
This is a wonderful book I picked up for my son. He was unhappy with his personal choice book and wanted to switch, so off to the library we went. While I normally go right for the Newberry prize winners, the cover caught my eye and I read the blurb. There was no going back from there and it took me a few minutes to convince my son this was the one he wanted to read. He wandered around and looked at Zen and the Art of Faking it, and then After Ever After, but they looked like the reading lexile was much lower. The librarian could not help me, which was surprising. My son read all the blurbs and decided this was a good pick; he started reading it right there. When we got home, he had to finish a poster, so I read it. I am a very quick reader and love to read everything my kids read. It helps to have shared interests and we like to discuss the books.
Told from the first-person perspective, a family of scientists adopt a baby chimp, Zan, for experimental language studies in ASL and language acquisition. The son, Ben is asked to treat him like a brother and the baby chimpanzee learns many signs from him as they bond. Experiments don't always go according to plan and the family has to find a way to deal with the consequences of their actions and how the research trial will affect Zan's future. I would recommend this book for any adolescent boy. Ben's perspective on family, friends, school-life and girls is riveting. ( )
  Michelle_Wendt | Jun 15, 2016 |
Narrated by Daniel di Tomasso. *SPOILER* Ben's dad is working on a research project involving communicating with chimps. Thus, Zan the chimp comes to live with Ben's family. As the project advances, Ben comes to care about Zan like a baby brother. The project however, ends up not meeting standards and Zan must be released. Ben doesn't want to see Zan end up in a medical testing lab or worse, but his impassioned determination to defy his father and save Zan may make things worse. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
"... despite the inevitable warm fuzziness brought on by something as cute as a baby chimp, Half Brother turns out not to be your usual animal book. Oppel is rarely far away from reminding us that chimps are powerful creatures, often destructive, occasionally murderous." "Oppel is pleasingly unafraid to ask awkward questions, often right at the point where readers might have made up their minds. What a particular joy for a teenage reader, to be challenged rather than instructed. Parents might be surprised at the passionate discussions Half Brother ends up inspiring, along with a healthy new respect for our closest genetic cousins."
hinzugefügt von RBeffa | bearbeitenThe Guardian, patrick Ness (Jan 22, 2011)
 
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In 1973, when a renowned Canadian behavioral psychologist pursues his latest research project--an experiment to determine whether chimpanzees can acquire advanced language skills--he brings home a baby chimp named Zan and asks his thirteen-year-old son to treat Zan like a little brother.

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