An Australian with two other successful picture books to his credit presents an ebullient exploration of the differences between domestic, tame, and wild. Russell, little sister Mary, their parents and an assortment of pets live in a cozy house on the edge of The Wild. The night Russell reads about a lion from a zoo returning to the African plain, his pet rabbit and frog escape and also return to the wild. The family searches for them in vain, though helped by their two thoroughly domesticated dogs, placid Rosy and bouncy Molly, who tends to behave as if she is herding sheep. Everyone is playful in this family, but the duck plays too rough, pecking red patches on Dad's bald pate; since her wings have been clipped, they decide to take her to the half-wild park. Graham's green watercolor world provides a lush background for his skillfully drafted comic figures, with such delightful details as little Mary seating her teddy bear firmly across Dad's nose as she rides on his shoulders, and an occasional, not-too-ominous fox making the other side of the fence truly wild. A concept book that provides chuckles and a few pleasant shivers along with its lesson.