An extensive collection, geographically arranged (as subtly revealed in a table of contents where groups are accompanied by unlabeled maps--Australia and environs; Asia; Africa; Europe; the Americas; an image representing the sea). The poems are mostly contemporary, of good literary quality, and include a few translations, especially in the African group. Many are telling descriptions that, while not written especially for children, will appeal to the middle grades; others use animals to develop themes best understood by those with more experience. Information about authors is confined to the acknowledgments; readers are left to speculate about national origins on the basis of scant clues--e.g., that Zimbabwe's Mambo Press first published Broughton Gingell's ""Scorpions Fighting"" with its powerful image of dark creatures ""in dancing lethal pageantry."" Still, a richly rewarding anthology with splendid range--narrative or lyrical, comic or thoughtful, hard-hitting or sentimental, from both traditional and established sources. The attractive format looks a little young for the most appropriate readers; the varied illustrations, by a dozen artists, are attributed at the end. Fully indexed, including an index of animals.