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Based on the life of Anna Merz, who helped to establish a rhinoceros sanctuary in Kenya that today spans more than 61,000 acres, this enlightening children’s picture book relates how she helped one abandoned newborn rhinoceros survive.

Anna became a mother of sorts to the little rhino, whom she named Samia. Anna wrapped Samia in a blanket and kept her warm with a hot water bottle at night. She bottle-fed her and sat with her till she fell asleep.

As she spent time with Samia, Anna noticed that the creature communicated with grunts, snorts, and other sounds. As she listened to the rhino, she learned how to communicate in return. A bond grew between them. Samia trusted Anna, and Anna enjoyed Samia’s company.

Day by day, Samia grew bigger and stronger. It was time for her to be released and to fend for herself. Anna took steps to make Samia independent. Soon, Samia thrived in the wild, within the sanctuary’s borders. Once in awhile, she would come back searching for Anna, and the two friends would go for a walk together, sharing their unique companionship.

In author notes, Paul Meisel relates information about Anna Merz’s life and accomplishments, what happened to Samia after the events related in this book, facts about rhinos, and suggested resources for further reading. With its emphasis on protecting and preserving God’s good creation of animals, Anna and Samia is a worthwhile and enjoyable book for Christian parents and caregivers to share with children. (MacMillan)

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