Since our son was born, my husband and I have spent a lot of time looking at and reading books with him, and I’m often struck by the huge number of children’s stories that feature animals, insects, plants, rocks, the moon and stars, oceans, rivers and lakes.
Most of the animals talk and have relationships with one another, with human beings, and with the readers. The animals are not the passive animals that we adults tend to think them to be—they are animated and wise, cunning and clever with wonderful senses of humour. They do both fun and foolish things when the humans aren’t watching—talk to one another, play together, and make fun of the humans.
And this leads me to wonder, at what point do we begin to assume that other animals are passive and less clever than us? At what point does nature lose its enchantment?