Animal Land by Leland James

animal land

A tale of World War II narrated in the form of shape poetry and populated by giraffes and lions, owls and songbirds, eagles and sparrows and possums and badgers, Animal Land reveals the picture of war and includes a piece of advice at the end that we all need to hear. Especially now and even more so, for the future.


It is evident that Animal Land is inspired by George Orwell’s Animal Farm. But, the beautiful spin here is the poetic narration which flows seamlessly until the reader is caught up in a wondrous imagination of wise owls and brave hawks and malicious croca-dogs. This narration is further enriched with detailed illustrations that can catch any child’s fancy.

That said, this book is not just for children. While kids can still enjoy the story, for us adults, it is a lesson within a story. It is remainder that we shouldn’t beget war, but, we shouldn’t ignore it either. It reminds us that it’ll be well worth our while to remember the ravages of the previous war for posterity and learn our lesson now than later.

Adding to the joy of reading in rhythm, is the author’s careful maintenance of shape poetry. Nowhere does it feel that the author is compromising metier for form or rhyme and in spite of the hard lesson and tragedies within, I couldn’t help the smile on my face because I was reading some impeccable poetry after a long time.


BOTTOMLINE: This book provides an easy way to educate our children about the Second World War. The analogies are simple and the animals very descriptive. Of course, if you’re a poetry aficionado, don’t even think- this book is a must read.

Happy Reading!

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