Rickie and Henri

When I was a wee pup, I lived in a heavenly puppy paradise in Florida. The place was called Southeastern Guide Dogs. There were lots and lots of pups there – all my brothers and sisters and cousins. We spent our time playing and wrestling and cuddling together. People were always coming to play with us and cuddle with us. Oh! It was heaven!


Then one day some people came and took me away from my family and my paradise. I flew on an airplane far away and ended up in Texas at a strange house with strange smells and no other puppies. There was a big dog who was very nice to me and he explained about what my new life was about to be like.


We had a fun day playing together, but when the nighttime came, I was carried into a cage. I was to sleep here. All by myself. Oh my! But wait! I could smell my brothers in that cage! My new Mom Person had put in a big towel that had my brothers and sisters smell all over it. A bit of my paradise. And there was a big soft creature in there that I could cuddle with. I was told that it was a gorilla. That gorilla became my sleeping buddy and I have him still.

IMG_3547Gorilla was a real life saver for me. He helped me not be afraid of my new surroundings.

It’s hard being taken away from your family.

We recently read a book about this very thing.

Rickie and Henri by Jane Goodall and illustrated by Alan Marks

It was published by Penguin Young Readers in 2004

This is a non-fiction book suitable for Pre-school and up to adults.

Themes- friendship, endangered animals, family

Rickie is a baby chimpanzee living happily with her mother and family in the rain forest of Central Africa. One day her world is turned upside down when some men come and kill her mother and take Rickie away in a cage. She is put up for sale in a market. Poor, scared Rickie! But one day a kind man rescues her and takes her home with him where she discovers a true friend in a big dog named Henri. She sleeps with Henri, clinging to his fur like she did with her mother. She rides on his back, like she did with her mother. They become best friends.

Rickie eventually becomes too big to ride on Henri and the decision is made to send her to a sanctuary for orphan chimps where she makes many new friends of her own kind.

IMG_3550This is a lovely story about a very unlovely topic – illegal hunting and selling of endangered wildlife. TheΒ  beginning of the story is a little scary and very sad. It made the Mom Person cry. But then it becomes a happy, hopeful tale. Mr. Marks’s illustrations are beautiful and full of emotion. It is a beautiful book.

Rickie and Henri is a true story and Rickie still lives at the Jane Goodall Institute’s Tchimpounga Sanctuary in the Congo Republic.

Ms Goodall is a very famous lady who began studying chimpanzees in 1960. You can find out more about her and the Jane Goodall Institute at their website here.

A worthwhile class project might be to become a chimpanzee guardian through the Institute and learn more about the plight of these fascinating creatures.

You might also look into other unlikely friendships and talk about what being a friend really means. What makes a good friend? How does one be a good friend?

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday, brought to you by Susanna Leonard Hill. You might want to visit her blog for more fun picture books with resources to go with —

Here is a look at the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Sanctuary —

Have a great weekend — read a book with a friend!


Copy of img311

25 thoughts on “Rickie and Henri

  1. This is a terrific book. I love that is’t a true story about friendship between a dog and chimp. What a wonderful video to accompany the book. It really shows the care given to wildlife — and I believe we need to share as many wildlife books with kids. Kids are so compassionate and it just may inspire one to pursue a path to save animals. Great choice. (Hope you check out Joanne Marple’s blog and her PPB about a rescue dog.)

    • This is a pretty unique story. I’m glad that it had a happy ending. I liked watching that video too. It’s kind of like our puppy group! All those orphan chimps. A sad thing, but glad as well, that they have such a fine place to live. We’ve not read this book yet with any kids, but I’m sure that they will gobble it up. Kids love these kinds of stories. And they always want to find ways to help. A good thing.

  2. Loved hearing about Rhythm’s early life πŸ™‚ I’m glad they were nice to him and remembered the towel that smelled like his brothers! This book sounds sad (I’m sure it will make me cry!) but also really great. I love stories of unlikely friendships between animals. Thanks for adding a great choice to our list!

    • Thanks Ms Hill! My life has been a pretty good one! That scented towel and that Gorilla made all the difference in my being able to sleep that first night. The book is sad at first, but then it becomes happy. I think you would like it.

  3. So sad and heartwarming at the same time. I am surprised I haven’t heard of this one. Thanks so much for the introduction, Rhythm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s