Typical of the wild animal life-cycle genre, this is fictional in that the development and habits of the Alaskan caribou are illustrated entirely through a typified member of the species and his herd. Incidents and other animals (including humans) intrude only as examples of the sort of dangers to which the caribou is likely to fall prey. The quantity of detail which is offered here about the animal's habits is offset somewhat by the use of clumsy, over-dramatic descriptions (""...woe unto him if he is caught, for his brains will splatter the rocks,"" ""they were clouds that gave not to life but took it,"" and so on). The text is frank about the facts of the brutality which is inherent in animal survival and about the independent caribou's blandly cruel (by human standards) refusal to help others in the species, but at times the author seems to protest too much instead of simply accepting the caribou's nature. There is also a tendency to oversensationalize extraneous disasters (a hunter gored by a bear, a fox on fire, etc.). Aluk offers a thorough, informative introduction to the caribou, but not one that will provoke much reader empathy.