Pre-read for my 6.5-year-old son. I don't think he's quite ready for this, but I did enjoy these very short stories from the prolific and usually enjoyable Rylant. The main characters in the stories vary widely, from an lonely retired teacher to a "slow" grade school boy to an alcoholic in rehab. But what they each story has in common is how animals can change our view point and even save us from ourselves. While I'm not a fan of using the death of an animal as a rite of passage (e.g,., The Yearling, Old Yeller), these stories are more about the important place animals, both wild and tame, have in our lives.