Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel
13-year-old Ben Tomlin is accustomed to to parents making important decisions without any regard for his preferences or feelings. They've done it his whole life. But it seems to Ben that he might at least be asked if he wants to move across the country from Toronto, ON to Victoria BC so that his parents can pursue a new research project. Ben isn't very enthusiastic about adding a baby chimpanzee to the family at first. Gradually, however, teaching Zan sign language becomes Ben's project.
And then, the project funding fails.
Thoughtful and sweet, the story explores the boundaries of scientific ethics as well as the relationship between animals and people. The emotional sub-plot of Ben's experiences with his family and his first girlfriend are funny and pertinent as well.