By Tracey Stewart
New York: Artisan, 2015. 199 pages. NonFiction
Former veterinary technician turned animal rescuer Tracey Stewart takes readers on a journey to better understand animals; those in our homes, yards, and farms. She discusses topics such as how unique animals are in what they enjoy and dislike, how to read animal body language, and shines light on how even creepy crawlies creatures and pesky garden bandits have a place in the grand scheme of things. The book provides some creative, animal friendly recipes, training tips, and crafts, beneficial for both animals and humans alike. I tried some of the recommended dog massage techniques on my pooches, they seemed to respond positively, with tongues hangout out and eyes rolled back in bliss.
This is a book for animal lovers of all ages. Stewart’s writing style is simple and approachable, yet informative. She advocates kindness and compassion for all beings, without being overly preachy or harsh, though she is clearly opinionated about factory farming and professes the benefits of the “Adopt, don’t shop” philosophy (meaning adopt an animal from a shelter as opposed to other means). The most striking part of the book are the lovely, vintage style illustrations by Lisel Ashlock on nearly every page that beg to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. Paired with the useful and practical information, this was a light and enjoyable read.