I had an acquaintance on Facebook recommend this book, and I thought that it looked interesting. I am so glad that I read it. This is the story of Zan, a baby chimpanzee who is taken away from his mother essentially at birth, to be the star in a research project to determine whether chimpanzees can learn sign language.
Zan goes to live with the family of the lead scientist on the project. There, he is to be raised as a human child. Enter Ben, his new "half brother". Ben has been forced to move away from family and friends to a strange new city in order for his parents to conduct this project. He isn't really sure what to make of Zan in the beginning, but as he learns to open his heart, he becomes Zan's most effective teacher and yes, big brother.
This story seemed so familiar to me, so I did some research. There was a chimpanzee named Nim Chimpski, was in fact the subject of just such a research project, only it wasn't conducted in Canada but right here in the good old United States conducted at Columbia University called "Project Nim".
The similarities in the story are down right eerie. If you are interested in learning more about the real Zan there is a new book out called "Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would be Human" by Elizabeth Hess. I haven't read it yet but may eventually.
In the meantime, I loved Half Brother. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would. If you decide to read it, keep your tissues handy.