Featured Endangered Species Like the Vaquita...
Nestled among the paintings in M5 are a variety of beautiful but endangered or extinct animal species. Some of the creatures featured are based upon very real animals of the past that no longer exist. But one mythical mammal, La Vaquita, appearing in the Letter "V," is alive today!
Happily, it is a very cute and very small wild porpoise; its babies are the size of a loaf of bread (which is maddeningly cute when you think about it). But sadly, the Vaquita is an extremely endangered wild porpoise, with only roughly ninety left in the wild.
M5 author Matthew Mehan also wrote a “Las Vaquitas Lullaby” to help raise awareness which can be heard here:
Mr. Mehan's Mythical Mammals and Mental Ecology...
Poems do best at tying nature to what is in our heads.
—John Felstiner’s Can Poetry Save the Earth? (Yale University Press, 2009)
Everyone laughs, and everyone cries. But sadness poses real dangers to human happiness. One key theme of Mr. Mehan’s Mildly Amusing Mythical Mammals concerns how to deal with the very real feelings of sadness every mammal, including humans, must face. Some of the many mammals the Dally and Blug meet in their journey sing feelingly about nature and what’s in our heads. M5 is the sort of book that Prince Hamlet should have read when he was a boy.
To summarize the idea that our emotions, our reactions to events, and some mental illnesses are caused by the mental filters through which we look at the world, I could not say it any more concisely than Shakespeare: ‘There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.’
—Jonathan Haidt, quoting the despairing Hamlet, in The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom