If your child loves critters of all sorts — and loves learning about them — she might enjoy reading a new book about a woman who shares her home with domestic and wild pets.
In Peg Kehret’s latest, “Animals Welcome,” Kehret and her husband, Carl, buy 10 wooded acres in Washington state where deer and elk roam, baby fawns are born, bears and ‘possums steal birdseed from feeders, and peacocks wander over to snoop. And Kehret loves to watch them all.
She adores the many birds that visit her woods as much as her household pets. She’s always shared her home with at least one dog and says that all but one of her tail-waggers has been a rescue. Kehret, you see, is a big supporter of her local animal shelters.
She also writes about her many kitties, including Molly and Pete, who are beloved companions. There is also Mr. Stray — a semi-feral cat, who Carl honored after his death by turning the workshop into a cat room, where the couple fosters cats with the hope that they’ll be adopted by loving families.
Animals, it seems, know that the Kehrets are softies for soft fur.
Other feral cats and kittens that they bottle-raised have also visited the couple. A lost, elderly dachshund showed up one day, missing her owner, and two ponies wandered down Kehret’s driveway after escaping from their corral.
“Helping animals,” says Kehret, is “a way of life.” At her house, “animals will always be welcome.”
If your young reader is also a fan of all things furry and feathered, it’s sometimes hard to find books that satisfy her story cravings. Fortunately, “Animals Welcome” fills that void nicely.
Kehret’s words feel like snuggly flannel sheets, resonating with rich, warm tones that respect both subjects and readers. Her curiosity and a keen love of animals meld with an obvious love for children, that makes this book seem undeniably friendly.
I particularly liked that Kehret is careful to teach readers to watch — not touch — wildlife, and to be mindful of all animals. Kids can learn a lot, in fact, from this passionate, creature-minded author.
Though this is a book for 7- to 12 year olds, don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to read it, too. With its loving tales (or shall we say “tails?”) and gentle, flavor, “Animals Welcome” will be welcome on anybody’s bookshelf.
“Animals Welcome: A Life of Reading, Writing, and Rescue,” by Peg Kehret [175 pages, 2012, $16.99].
Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill with two dogs and 12,000 books.