This large, colorfully illustrated picture book gives a strong, simple plea on behalf of the animals that inhabit the Earth.
Using spare, carefully chosen words that read like a solemn prayer, Kirk writes and illustrates a supplication to readers to consider the animals. “May they be free of hunger, may they be free of fear,” he writes. While the words give the text gravitas (but add a hint of human dominion over the beasts), the digitally colored pencil illustrations have an accessible feel, painting the animals with slight smiles, for a winsome look. While undeniably carefully illustrated and written, the story has a humancentric bias in its depiction of the animal world, ascribing to them human preferences (“may their hearts and minds be calm”) and ignoring the issue that it is the encroachment, habitat destruction, and predatory behavior of humans that are the greatest threats to the animals. However, young readers will be drawn to the cute animal faces, and the heartfelt text—presenting itself with conscious simplicity and profundity—may instill a sense of empathy for the other creatures of the planet, one that could possibly grow into a greater curiosity to discover more.
As an invitation to readers to empathize with the other creatures that inhabit our planet, this book is successful—and it is very pretty to look at. (author’s note) (Picture book. 2-7)