This lovely set comes in a sturdy box with a magnetic closure, which I find to be perfect for storage and/or travel. I wish all decks came in a box like this. lol I also love the "typical" Schiffer card stock this deck is printed on--heavy, yet somewhat flexible with a glossy, plastic-y finish. Shuffling is a dream with these, no matter what your personal mixing style is. :)
About The Cards - The 44 cards have simple art illustrations that are pleasing to the eye with rich, vibrant colors that really pop. They have white borders, and each one has a different colored, thin, inner frame. The font (re: card name on the bottom) is elegant and easy to read. Card backs are stunning with a night-time owl, moon, and tree design, and are completely reversible-- however the companion book does not give reversed meanings. But that doesn't mean you can't figure out your own. ;) All the cards have animals or insects depicted in the artwork. There are even a couple of mythological beasts. A Pegasus, a Phoenix and a Unicorn to be exact.
Card Dimensions - 4 and 1/2 inches tall by 2 and 7/8 inches wide. (Book is slightly taller - 4 and 7/8 inches tall)
About The Companion Book - The 128 page companion book that comes with this deck is full of goodies. The sections include; Dedications, Acknowledgements, Contents, Thanks, Introduction, How To Use This Oracle/Spread Suggestions, Individual Card Pages, Bibliography, Author Page (Kristy Robinett), and Illustrator page (Johna Gibson Bowman). The cards are listed alphabetically by animal, not card name. Each card is dedicated a page-sized black and white illustration, 4-5 keywords, a relevant pithy quote, and the main interpretation entry.
One of the spreads in the book that I enjoyed doing was The Lifetime Animal spread. It's a three card spread, and the positions are as follows:
1. Lifetime Animal - What you need to work on throughout your entire lifetime.
2. Primary Animal - What you need to work with in the present.
3. Soul Journey - What your guides are guiding you towards.
I found the answers it gave me to be very insightful and affirming in quite a few ways. For me, that's one the hallmarks of an effective oracle deck. And who says you can't have more than one Lifetime Animal? Or you could make the initial Lifetime Animal card you pulled a permanent one, and pull the second two for the current circumstances. :)
Other Thoughts - I think this deck would also be exceptionally good for children. What fun it would be to have a little one choose a card and then have a discussion about the animal and it's meaning. Lots of opportunities in this deck to develop good coping and decision making skills for young children (or grown ups for that matter).