Our Animal Neighbors: Compassion for Every Furry, Slimy, Prickly Creature on Earth

Matthieu Ricard and Jason Gruhl, illus. by Becca Hall. Bala Kids, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-61180-723-3
Ricard and Gruhl make a case for animal rights and ethical veganism by metaphorically framing Earth’s residents as neighbors equally deserving of respect and care. They begin by pointing out the “wildly different likes and needs” of these neighbors who “feel at home in very different places.” Their argument hits snags, though, when they pivot to unifying similarities: do even solo creatures require “family and friendship,” as the book suggests? A more persuasive claim centers on human actions: “when we look with our eyes and our hearts, we can act with love and compassion toward all beings.” Hall’s cartoonlike, sometimes heavy-handed illustrations make implied meanings plain, showing happily swimming dolphins alongside smiling humans, and later, huddling monkeys scarred by medical experiments, and trembling cows heading into a “Fast Food Factory.” Closes with a discussion of the benefits of a plant-based diet. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 05/13/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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