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The Voice of the Infinite in the Small: Revisioning the Insect-Human Connection, by Joanne Elizabeth Lauck (Swan Raven, $18.95).

Synopsis: Author argues for extending insects the sense of kinship now lavished on dolphins and whales. Fleas, maggots, and even bacteria are spiritual. Try being friendly to a fly.

Representative quote: "When it landed again, she brought her hand close to her face and told the fly that if it wanted to keep touching her that she would like to do the same. Smith felt the fly's surprise....Smith reports feeling the fly's trust and its wonder about the encounter."

Noteworthy flaw: Suggests people who avoid mosquito bites are stunting their own personal growth: "Pain is a great teacher."

The Autobiography of Foudini M. Cat, by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer (Knopf, $18.95).

Synopsis: Aging house cat Foudini tells the story of his life, including dream visits from the cats of Freud and Cleopatra, to a kitten.

Representative quote: "I was too hungry to stay hidden behind the drawer, and so I climbed out and scurried beneath one piece of furniture to another until I came to the kitchen."

Noteworthy flaw: Despite Foudini's advanced age, no mention of persistent barfing.

Animal Miracles: Inspirational and Heroic True Stories, by Brad Steiger and Sherry Hansen Steiger (Adams Media, $8.95).

Synopsis: The animal world is filled with savvy and benevolent creatures ready to intercede to prevent human tragedy. Dogs, cats, dolphins, and even sharks come to the rescue. Parrots too.

Representative quote: "She felt that something too horrible to imagine was about to happen to her. And then, incredibly, little one-pound Burt was suddenly transformed into a vicious attack parrot. Squawking a fierce battle cry, he flew into the kitchen, landed on the thug's shoulder, and began biting at his neck."

Noteworthy flaw: Left out Lassie.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): book covers.

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