I Wish I Had . . . is a page turner par excellence — a beautiful, vital, and bountiful introduction to the soulful and expressive animals that we are privileged to have as traveling companions on the road of life. There are still many nay-sayers among us who truly believe that animals are inferior to human beings and have been put on earth to be used as food, clothing, hard labor, and circus-like entertainments.

We are convinced that animals have souls and that they can express emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, contentment, grief, and loss. We use the spiritual virtue of reverence to describe our respect for all creatures and the mysterious and Divine powers they possess. Look at any of the extraordinary illustrations in this book by Simona Mulazzani and you will see what we mean. These primal images of a blackbird, a tiger, a wild goose, a mouse, a lemur, a dog, a deer, a whale, a panther, an owl, a hare, a bear, and an elephant will take your breath away!

Writer Giovanna Zoboli begins the book designed for children from 4 to 8 years of age with a picture of a blackbird in a field and the words: "I wish I had the eyes of a blackbird to see every blade of grass in the meadow." As you read the words and savor the images in the rest of the book, ask yourself what animal wisdom, skills, or powers you would wish to have as your own. Spend some time communing with the animals that especially appeal to you and see what you can learn from them.