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Children and Other Wild Animals: Notes on badgers, otters, sons, hawks, daughters, dogs, bears, air, bobcats, fishers, mascots, Charles Darwin, newts, sturgeon, roasting squirrels, parrots, elk, foxes, tigers and various other zoological matters
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Children and Other Wild Animals: Notes on badgers, otters, sons, hawks, daughters, dogs, bears, air, bobcats, fishers, mascots, Charles Darwin, newts, sturgeon, roasting squirrels, parrots, elk, foxes, tigers and various other zoological matters

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  34 reviews
In Children and Other Wild Animals, bestselling novelist Brian Doyle (Mink River, The Plover) describes encounters with astounding beings of every sort and shape. These true tales of animals and human mammals (generally the smaller sizes, but here and there elders and jumbos) delightfully blur the line between the two.

In these short vignettes, Doyle explores the seethe of
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 1st 2014 by Oregon State University Press
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4.44  · 
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 ·  147 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book could also be titled: Love Letters to Mother Earth. Short, poignant vignettes about animals, nature, children, and the small moments of joy and wonder that flit through our every day lives. Sometimes funny, sometimes breathtaking, sometimes challenging, sometimes experimental, sometimes cloying, but in a charming way. I liked the first half better than the second, but really the whole collection is fantastic.
Do your soul a favor and read anything by Brian Doyle.
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful collection of short essays about the world around us and the creatures that inhabit it. I laughed out loud at times; I found myself nodding in agreement at the truth of his observations; and I remembered how cheerfully he read some of these pieces at an event in the spring.

I dog-eared a page of the essay titled "Joyas Volardores," in which he talks about the hearts of a number of creatures. He continues on to the hearts of humans:

"So much held in a heart in a life. So much held in a
Reading this book made me happy to be alive. These essays are like short prayers that remind me to stop and look and notice all the wonders that exist in the world. Doyle’s grace and excitement overflows in his writing no matter the subject, and he is not self-indulgent or overly intellectual. His writing is outward looking and tender. Doyle was a writer who seemed to live with both arms flung open, ready to embrace the world with his attention and wonder.

I wish I could quote the whole book in
Brittany Wilmes
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This collection is home to my favorite Brian Doyle essay, Joyas Volardores. I want to print it out and roll it up and leave it in mailboxes all over my city.

Brian Doyle will fill you with awe and wonder.
Duy Nguyen
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this so much. No matter what problems I am facing, the essays remind me of the infinite little happy things in our lives. Somehow chuckle and tears manage to blend perfectly in the pages of this book. Highly recommend!
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019reads
Honestly, you shouldn’t even ask me, because at this point I believe Doyle can do no wrong.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If I had a spirit guide it might be Brian Doyle. The hardest part about reading one of his books the first time is that when it is over that's one less Brian Doyle book I get to read for the first time.
Nov 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
How can you not love Brian Doyle. His essays bring you to your knees. He shares his childhood and parenting memories and foibles. He is passionate about our care of the creatures with which we share this earth. I have heard him speak several times. His passion never fails, in print and in person.
Bruce Reiter
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a very good book of essays about life, animals and the Pacific Northwest. Having been born and raised in Oregon and spending my last years in Washington State, I marvel at the nature I have been allowed to witness. He mentions William Stafford in one of the stories, a gentle poet that I was privileged to meet in College. He writes of the relationship between a Bishop and his parrot. There is a lot about life and loss, two elements come together more often that some of us of age would lik ...more
Linda Chance
I’d put off reading Brian Doyle until I actually moved to the Pacific Northwest. Then, upon hearing of his death last year, I added a few of his titles to my TBR list. Needing a local author to complete a reading challenge I grabbed this lovely collection of essays. Now, I’m hooked! Thoughtful, bust-a-gut funny, devastatingly sad, spiritually luminous: I can’t find the right amount of adjectives to describe what I found between the covers of “Children”. I will now read everything Mr. Doyle left ...more
Kyla Hebert
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was astonished by how much I loved this book. I had never read anything by Doyle before but now I have no choice but to devour it all. Even if nature is not your passion, this book will speak deeply to you. There is so much joy and gentleness and wide-open love in it, and it will surprise you with laughter and tears over and over again.
Alannah Hardcastle
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Certainly some pleasing moments of that slice of life appreciation of simply being alive in this crazy wonderful world.... Learned some interesting factoids about hawks, anchovies, whale hearts.. Loved In Otter Worlds .... some of it seemed.. too eager.. like lonely old folks just teeming on the edge of chuckling.. anticipating the outward joy of just being... blah blah blah
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brian Doyle’s writing is something to savor. Half poetry, half conspiratorial letter from a friend, half poignant essay by a deft observer of people and nature (yes, three halves make more than a whole, feels appropriate here), the short pieces compiled in this short collection made my eyes sting again and again. How sad to find an author you really love, only to learn that he’s passed away?
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: essays, animals
He really was a remarkable talent. I think I would have enjoyed the book quite a bit more if I had sampled it from time to time among other reading, rather than reading it cover to cover in a short time. But, it was the only book I brought on a multi-week backpacking trip, so I didn't have a choice.
Dede Montgomery
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book from a master of prose. This is a beauty with laugh out loud lines and detailed mindful description, crafted by an author who will never be replaced.
Aimee R. Banks
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Five million stars! If this doesn't give you all the feels, then you are already dead. Excellent.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I believe this title is destined to be in my top 5 reads of the year! Pure Magic.

Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book on a whim because it was a staff pick at Klindt's, the oldest bookstore in Oregon. I have been reading it aloud (with slight modifications to remove slightly explicit material or references to religion) to my 7th grade literacy class in a rural, high poverty public middle school in Oregon. The kids (as do I) LOVE it!

They get the humor, they get the nuance. These somewhat jaded 12 and 13 year-olds laugh open-mouthed at the wry imagery. Even the most jumpy and distractible of t
Susan Conklin
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Forget the How To books on parenting, buy this for new parents. Doyle "shows" rather than tells the magic of parenting without intending to. His notes on the wonders of his children and animals weave through the heart on wings carrying the reader from the expansive to the macroscopic detail of life. Instead of removing the sardine can a child sleeps with, Doyle instead, sits at the wonder of the can and origins of its contents and though he doesn't mention it, you know he lovingly in wonder put ...more
Mar 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
These short snippets into the workings of Doyle's mind as he considers everything from sturgeon to parenthood and points beyond are nothing short of a joy to read. Thoughtful, reverent (and at times, irreverent) and often laugh out loud funny, as he finds humor and delight in the small and big moments in the lives of animals both two legged and four legged. Fast paced, almost stream of consciousness, as he explores the world and the lives around him with acute interest and compassionate heart.

Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Essays were pretty uniformly good, though there were a few duds. They were funny, thoughtful, poignant, sad, outrageous, amazed, etc. I discovered partway through that I enjoyed them better if I read one or two at a time (most of the essays were only a few pages long), and then set the book down. Trying to read several in one sitting made them seem repetitive. I really enjoyed Doyle's writing style.
Josephine Ensign
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Way too folksy, whimsical, overly sweet and superficial somehow. The one essay in the collection that I did like was "The Creature Beyond the Mountains," about our odd sturgeon fish in the Pacific NW rivers.
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I was too angry at the fact that it is June and I live in Texas to enjoy this book. I get that if you live in the PNW, this is a gorgeous love poem to that area, but honestly, y'all just rubbing in the heat stroke that is my life right now. We have roaches, flies, and snakes, enjoy your Badgers.
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Some breathtaking essays, but also some I didn't care for, but overall worthwhile and satisfying. It's true what the cover blurb says, "with passages of reflection so hard-earned they make you stop and reread a line," and as the forward says, he is a master of the "familiar essay."
Theresa Sivelle
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I liked the short stories/essays. Can't wait to hear how the author visit goes. I've seen him talk before and found him very interesting.
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
A delight to pick up from time to time.
Oct 01, 2014 added it
Shelves: fiction
Enjoying these delicious little reading morsels. Tasted a little at a time. They touched on many different emotions. Always imaginative.
Hollis Fishelson-holstine
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-author
SO beautiful. i had to buy it to savor in the future
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love the writing, but am especially fascinated and amazed by Doyle's power of observation along with ability to describe details. He sees everything.
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Doyle's essays and poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, The American Scholar, Orion, Commonweal, and The Georgia Review, among other magazines and journals, and in The Times of London, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Kansas City Star, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Ottawa Citizen, and Newsday, among other newspapers. He was a book reviewer for The Oregonian and a contributing es ...more
“Question: what weighs five quadrillion tons but you cannot see hide nor hair nor hint of it? Answers: Guilt, responsibility, fatherhood, sorrow, love, history—but here I mean that most crucial of freighted invisibilities, air, the atmosphere, our atmosphere, the incredible blanket we breathe, without which our sphere is only another among zillions of lifeless rocks let loose in the endless void. Five quadrillion tons! The parade of zeroes like a circus train behind the engine of the five: 5,000,000,000,000,000 …” 0 likes
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