Olga and her three sisters grew up in the Kazakh city of Alma-Ata with an assortment of animals usually considered wild but brought home by their forester father and treated as pets. In these reminiscences she assigns one chapter to each animal and describes the experiences the family shared with it, developing the character of each separately rather than incorporating them into a sequential narrative. What makes the book work as well as it does is the irresistible appeal of the animals and the natural responses of the girls who cram so much pleasure into a few weeks or sustain it for several years. Mishka the maral (a Siberian stag) munched cigarette butts; Ishka the donkey confounded everyone with his ""rumble-tumble trot""; Frantik the fox filched eggs from the hens and stored them in unexpected places--like father's slipper. The title should really read Wolves because at first there were two; Vaska the tiger was the most upsetting to the neighbors and Chubary the horse, whom the girls nursed back to health with extraordinary care, became something of a legend in the community. And there are some amusing moments accruing, as when young Natasha argues with her teacher that horses are wild because Chubary is always running away while foxes and wolves are domestic because they just get into the cellar and henhouse. Despite the unfortunate closing (the shooting of the dying horse), it's sure to be wolfed down.