Here’s a cute picture book from 2018 with a positive message about otherness and tolerance. It’s from New York illustrator Daniel Salmieri, who has a penchant for bears and wolves (obviously).
Bear and Wolf
This is Salmieri’s debut work. It’s subtly philosophical and you can take from what you want—Zen Buddhism, environmentalism, minimalism, nihilism, existentialism etc.
Ultimately, the eye-catching artwork and serenity behind the picture book make it ideal for young and old folks, with the former no doubt revelling in the cute companionship.
Salmieri describes Bear and Wolf as about:
"Being present and experiencing life fully. It’s about a shared understanding with your friend where not a lot needs to be said.”
He acknowledges birds and fish play their part in the story, but also the ever-present snow is also a central character.
And we like that outlook—rather than focussing on the sentient beings, you have to factor in God’s dandruff as it drifts amongst the animals.
What unfolds over the brief read is a story about two animal friends experiencing the beauty of the world around them.
Bear and wolf share a tacit experience, drifting through snowy settings as they take in the sights and sounds.
So, again, there’s that focus on serene contemplation. Buddhism? If you will. But sometimes it’s important to stop and stare at the world, rather than letting your thoughts overwhelm you—as Bird Therapy taught us.
And then there’s the theme of otherness. Of being different. It’s a crazy world out there with many people struggling to deal with differences.
Bear and Wolf’s message is it’s important to look past petty issues and embrace universality. Have a wander with a friend this Christmas, out in the snow, and peek around for wildlife.
We have here a lovely little picture book. It’s striking, but also provides an accessible look at the important things in life.
An excellent read for flourishing young minds out there—or adults looking for a bit of clarity amongst the economic and political snowstorms of late.
Addendum: European Hamsters
As we’re in a cute mood regarding nature, we thought it a good idea to end with a look at a goofy European hamster going about his day.
Having owned hamsters over the years and knowing how lovable they are, plus inquisitive and adorable, it’s a decent enough segue from Bear and Wolf into this. Isn’t it?
How we, as grown adults, can form a (largely food-based) bond with a diminutive furry being is pretty remarkable.
And as Salmieri’s work is excellent for young ones, hamsters are indeed excellent pets for children. Fancy one? Here’s our guide to owning hamsters.
Partly as they’re great entertainment, but also excellent for discipline—and they don’t last forever. More life lessons.
A couple of years and you’ll have to wave goodbye to your hamster friend.
But in doing so you learn about life and the various trials and tribulations we must all face—no matter where we’re from or what we believe in.