What the Animals Saw


While a grizzly bear sees a salmon, the salmon is aware of the bear’s ‘rumbling belly’ and its ‘claws curled to hook‘. Louise Greig imagines and describes pivotal moments of awareness in the animal world in What the Animals Saw. A ‘sudden surge of flashlight‘ alerts the octopus to a diver. What will he do when she reaches out a ‘shy tentacle‘ toward the face behind the mask?

Meanwhile, the baby elephant sees the herd as it ‘weaves through giant pillars of legs; She is aware that he is part of a ‘formidable army‘ of strength.

Alongside the writer’s glorious descriptive text, are Nicola O’Byrne’s painterly images. These elevate the scenes into something upon which we need to linger over, feel and understand. Altogether, What the Animals Saw, is a ‘forever’ picture book to cherish, read alone, and share.


What the Animals Saw

Louise Greig and Nicola O’Byrne

(Red Shed)

Let’s capture a moment to realise What the Animals Saw. Maybe it’s the huddling penguin chick who is snug and warm because of the ‘brave barrier formed by penguin parents against the cruel Antarctic storm.’ We share the moment that ‘a rabbit sees a wolf’. Furthermore, she’s aware of the animal’s’ ‘piercing eyes and two white fangs‘. What will the rabbit do? Will the hare racing on the high mountains out manoeuvre ‘the sharp-eyed eagle’?
Louise Greig’s text describes each portentous moment so brilliantly that we feel it. It seems like we readers are captured within the scene, left to hang upon the next action. What will the diver do when the octopus tentacle reaches out? Which of the rhinoceros will ‘win the right to stay’. Moreover, Nicola O’Byrne’s portrait style pictures elevate the drama. Both she, of Bad Cat!, and Louise Greig, of The Bear Who Did, are at the top of their game. We revel in the quality and wonder of their beautiful collaboration, What the Animals Saw.


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