It is indeed rare to find an exquisitely designed children's book that presents a lyrical and positive portrait of exotic animals that live in the wilderness. St. Francis had to convince the townsfolk that the wolf was not a beast eager to devour them. Eduardo Bustos has a hard assignment in modern times: to model respect for wild animals we would find both scary and odd.
With shiny black backgrounds, the author presents descriptions of a hippopotamus, a yak, a hyena, koala, leopard, sloth, a fox, a spectacled bear, fennec fox, a spotted owl, and a lion. For the spotted owl, Bustos writes:
"My enormous eyes rest during the day but at night, I'm perched up in a tree, scanning the ground beneath me. You'll find me in North America, but don't try to creep up behind me because I will see you. My head can turn almost all the way around."
Wild Animals is a total delight from start to finish and one comes away with a fresh appreciation of these special creatures and their unique qualities. The illustrations by Lucho Roriquez are very creative.