Do Unto Animals: Teaching Compassion through Story and Art

TL;DR Synopsis

Animals’ needs should be respected and all animals should be treated with kindness.

TL;DR Review

Excellent book for children, still enjoyable as an adult.

Review

As usual, I grabbed Do Unto Animals from my library’s featured shelf. The cover is eye-catching and I love animals, so it was a pretty easy sell.

Do Unto Animals is aimed towards children, featuring simple language and easy-to-understand stories and comparisons to help build empathy toward animals. It also feels like a children’s book because of its heavy emphasis on the colorful, adorable artwork and its picture-book size and shape.

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Gimme Shelter: One of Ashlock’s 300 gorgeous illustrations (image from Ashlock’s website)

Despite being older than the target audience and not having any children of my own to share the book with, I enjoyed it immensely. Stewart’s writing style is accessible and kind without feeling judgmental or edging onto a soapbox, and her words are beautifully illustrated by Ashlock. If you like animals, give this one a flip-through, even if it’s just to take a look at the art. I loved it.

The message of Do Unto Animals is nothing new to me. I’ve always treated animals kindly and felt a strong sense of compassion for creatures great and small. If you’ve ever talked to me in person, you know I’m a vegetarian. Not eating meat has given me a sense of calm by removing the tension I felt every time I ate meat. A tension I didn’t even know was there until it was gone. And now that I’ve lived without it for a few years, I just don’t know if I can ever go back.

But this isn’t about vegetarianism. In fact, I can’t even remember vegetarianism being talked about in the book. I’m sure it was mentioned, but it wasn’t preached. Do Unto Animals isn’t that kind of book. Instead, it just focuses on making animals’ lives as pleasant as possible, in ways that are good for them — not ways we want to be good for them.

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image from the author’s website
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