While many picture books star feisty cats or wacky dogs, others feature magnificent jungle creatures or imposing, furry beasts. Kirkus Indie recently reviewed three works that showcase formidable wild animals in tales imparting important messages to children.

Jaguar cover In Kosa Ely’s The Jaguar’s Story, a mother and her two cubs need to find a refuge after logging machines spoil their Amazon rainforest home. Radhe Gendron’s striking illustrations show the three majestic jaguars as they navigate the breathtaking Amazon landscape, a poisoned river, and unfamiliar farmland to reach a safe area. Our reviewer calls the adventure “an excellent new tale reiterating an old—but still relevant—ecological issue.”

A young royal feels she must always act perfectly in Jennifer Pahl Otto’s Princess Hippopotamus.But one day, she impetuously throws a water balloon that lands on her uncle’s new hat. Her sympathetic father tells the horrified princess that she doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. Kseniia Korniienko’s cartoon images delightfully depict these huge hippos in action. “This clever tale’s theme—that perfection isn’t important—is a significant one for kids who are afraid to make mistakes,” our critic writes.

Everyone Is Asleep But Me, by the mother-daughter team of Diana Yacobi and Lily Safrani, focuses on a bear cub who wakes up in the middle of the night. He enters his parents’ room, where two sprawling beasts slumber in their bed. Sadly, there’s no space for the cub. He forlornly returns to his room and climbs into bed. But, finding it “warm and cozy,” he immediately falls asleep. The work, which earned a Kirkus star, includes images by Philip L. Wohlrab. According to our reviewer, “An approachable vocabulary, strong theme, and adorable, almost huggable illustrations make this soothing animal tale a bedtime winner.” Myra Forsberg is an Indie editor.