So, this title quickly caught my eye as I was browsing the book shelf as I have always been a sucker for anything animal-themed. Thought it indeed had some very fascinating and touching stories regarding our non-human friends, I must admit this book was not quite what I expected.
– A mother giraffe fends off a lion for an hour to defend her child.
– Koko the gorilla cares for a “pet” kitten she names “All Ball.”
– A male falcon displays uncharacteristic behavior, including sounds that sound like cries of anguish, when his mate is killed.
– A gorilla who is given orange juice as a treat, gives it instead one day to a researcher who complains of a stomach ache. When she returns ten days later, the gorilla insists on the researcher drinking her juice until reassured that the stomach ache is gone.
– And of course, the thing that gives this book its title: elephants have been seen to cry on numerous occasions.
(These examples summarized in the review by Andrew J. Sydlik)
While I thoroughly enjoyed such a vast archive of accounts and stories (this book is well researched and referenced), often times the book takes on a rather ‘preachy’ tone, focusing on the argument of whether animals have feelings or not, instead of insight into how feelings and behaviour integrate which was what I expected. I don’t know how different the views on animal cruelty were when this book was published in 1995, but regardless I find a lot of the book scorning denial for superiority of the human race and scientists who do not take emotions as seriously as they should, when instead it could have highlighted works that have been done to support the argument of existence and importance of emotions in non-humans.
That being said, and being the biased animal lover that I am, the many stories will leave you well entertained and more affectionate of our animal friends than you were before, so I would say, give it a go, just feel free to skip some of the in-between stuff.
Thanks for reading!