Stories that personalize animals, while popular, are not always well done but here, with skill and humor added, the result is good. There's an orphaned, homeless baby raccoon, a pheasant with his flock of little ones, a cougar that fills its need for food, a pair of beavers and their long life together, and fawns, and moose and other creatures that fight for survival in their natural, perilous petting. The humans that appear are generally the enemy but there are those who give help -- rangers, wardens and ranchers, so that with the violence there is sometimes kindness and concern. Here, in the California redwoods, is the hidden life of the wild in observant, understanding detail. For natural history enthusiasts particularly but general readers with outdoor interests will like this too.