Half Brother

Half Brother

Book - 2010
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When Ben Tomlin's mother brings home his "new baby brother," an eight-day-old chimpanzee, Ben is far from thrilled. His father, a renowned behavioural scientist, has uprooted the family and moved them halfway across the country, to Victoria, B.C., so he can pursue a high-profile experiment -- to determine whether chimpanzees can learn human sign language.

The chimp, named Zan, must be raised exactly like a human. He's dressed in clothes and fed in a high chair and has a room full of toys. Ben is soon smitten. Joining the team of students who are helping with the experiment, Ben becomes both researcher and adored older brother.

Within months, Zan learns his first signs and becomes a media sensation. At his new school, Ben's life seems similarly charmed as he vies for the attention of the beautiful Jennifer -- using his newly acquired scientific observational skills.

But when Project Zan unexpectedly loses its funding, Ben's father is under huge pressure to either make the experiment succeed or abandon it -- and Zan. Unable to convince his father that Zan is now part of the family, Ben must risk everything he knows and everyone he loves in order to save his baby brother.

Publisher: Toronto, Ontario : HarperCollins Publishers, c2010.
ISBN: 9781554688128
Characteristics: 377 pages ;,22 cm.


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Jul 15, 2017

Half Brother is a heart-touching story that defines brotherhood in a unique way. Ben is a 13-year-old boy who lives with his father and mother, when suddenly, a new member is added to their family. Ben now has a little chimpanzee brother named Zan, who is only the subject of an experiment. At first, Ben finds Zan to be a despicable creature, but soon enough, his disgust transforms into immense affection. In fact, it turns out that Ben’s love for Zan is the main cause of conflict in the story. Not only is Zan adorable, but so is his slow blooming relationship with Ben. Moreover, the story delivers valuable messages in a fun and interesting way. Half Brother is an excellent piece of work that defies the traditional meaning of ‘family’. It is satisfying from the beginning to the very end. A book worth reading. Rating: 5/5
- @VirtueofReading of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

Jul 20, 2016

This book was excellent!

Jun 18, 2016

Original, characters were compelling

Apr 09, 2016

Probably one of his best books!

Jan 23, 2016

A good look at the ethics of some animal experimentation on both humans and animals.

Good resolution.

Loved the local references to Victoria and Canada.

Definitely worth a read although the 'romance' aspect got in the way with little satisfactory resolution.

Jan 07, 2016

I thought that Canadian author Kenneth Oppel’s Half Brother was an interesting concept for a book. In addition to learning something about chimpanzees the reader gets into the mind of a young boy entering puberty and how he sees the world. I found the book a little slow but it did pick up in the second half of the book. This book should appeal to boys in particular ages 9 to perhaps 15. Recommended book by Senior Doctor-at-Bass! D. A.

Dec 27, 2015

Didn't realize this was young adult fiction at first, and probably would have enjoyed it if I was a bit younger. Primatology is so interesting and it was neat to have this family dynamic perspective on it. Too much of the book in my opinion focuses on Ben's focus of trying to win over a girl at school, but again it is most likely because I am a bit older (21). What was really cool though was I went to boarding school in Victoria, and aside from the name being switched I am 99% certain Oppel based the school Ben attends off the school I went to! So reading about the details of the campus and their lunch room was fun.

Aug 09, 2015

Kenneth Opel actually arrived at my school for a presentation and gave me this book. I was in grade six, then, so when I flipped through the book and saw some coarse language I set it down. But now, I've read it many times over and I LOVE it's sense of humour and teen romance tied along with brotherhood. It raises a lot of ethical questions (I saw the earlier comments) and that you can have a brother not related in blood, but in loyalty and friendship.

Jun 01, 2015

Great book, one that Im very interested in.

0Charlie Oct 15, 2014

This was a very enjoyable read. The subject matter and the ethical questions raised (viewing the 70's from our 21st century perspective) were handled well. It was refreshing to have an adolescent male protagonist who is not afraid to cry and express his feelings. A very interesting story - I didn't know what was coming next. I expect good things from Kenneth Oppel and I was not disappointed. Highly recommended for preteens and teens.

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Jul 20, 2014

Torstad thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

starsup100 Jul 18, 2013

starsup100 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Siham2000 Jul 04, 2013

Siham2000 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Jul 02, 2013

michy174 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

orange_tiger_343 Jan 02, 2013

orange_tiger_343 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

mahdiyah_p Dec 07, 2012

mahdiyah_p thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Nov 29, 2012

shellsnake thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

May 18, 2012

dl1012 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

meks Apr 21, 2012

meks thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Apr 05, 2012

Dr_Inferno thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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Jul 10, 2015

A boy and his parents move across Canada to teach American Sign Language to a chimpanzee.

Aug 27, 2013

Zan the monkey becomes more than a project he becomes family

mike11296 Jun 12, 2013

This book is based on a boy named Ben who has moved to a new house inn order for his dad to complete an experiment to make a chimpanzee learn ASL(American Sign Language).

Apr 05, 2012

Ben moves to a new house in the country because his dad has an interesting experiment to work on. In this experiment Ben needs to treat Zan (the new born monkey) like a brother, and teach him to do sign language. But new house means new schools, and new bullies and romances.

hungergames007 Feb 22, 2012



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Jul 20, 2014

pretty good book really good

Aug 27, 2013

"I miss him"

mike11296 Jun 12, 2013

"How about if I pee on you? Would you like that?"


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