Some twenty odd animals, insects, birds and fish which have affected man's own patterns- whether beneficially or otherwise- are profiled here in short pieces which contain a good deal of casual information to supplement scientific interests. An interesting opening point- that man's mastery of animals has led to the acquisition, through breeding, of the qualities we value- eggs, milk, wool, for instance. And while the mule, much abused, has proved to be a strong and steady servant, the cat- regal in her pose- can never be put to work. Starlings, bees (geared to a system of social security), the cobra's venom (which may ultimately replace other opiates), the guinea pig, the resistant rat linked with disease and death and destruction, the buffalo and pig and bear, the wolf- once the most aggressive animal to man, bugs and beetles, flies and leeches, are all part of this cavalcade of pets and pests from the natural world and there are some odd to fascinating facts (i.e. a cat gave Eli Whitney the idea of the cotton gin.) Some of the articles on these species had their origin in the pages of the Natural History Magazine, and it is ideal material for any younger reader.