Day 29 – A favourite book with animals in it

Oh but they do talk, James….

This is THEEEE most difficult challenge day yet.  I am a huge animal-lover and I have a real soft spot for books with them, about them or narrated by them. Funnily enough, if a book is supposed to be narrated by a child, unless it is really well done – e.g. ROOM – then they generally make me cringe. However, a book narrated by a dog……well! That’s differnt. It cvan be heartwarming or pure comedy gold.

After umming and ahhhing for ages which book to pick (I don’t want to offend said animals who didn’t quite make it, you see) I have decided to include twelve books today. Yes, TWELVE!

So, in no particular order:

Animal Farm by George Orwell

I read it in one evening and even skipped dinner for this book. I cried my way through half of it and I still think about those animals now. Boxer broke my heart (if you’ve read it you’ll know what I mean :().

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst

This book is actually called Lorelei’s Secret in the UK, but I bought it when I was in NYC on a long weekend about 6 or 7 years ago and read it on the flight home. A man’s wife dies by falling out of an apple tree and the only witness is the couple’s dog, Lorelei, so he tries to teach her to speak to that she can tell him what happened. Loved it.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

You all know what I think about this book. I fell in love with Richard Parker the bengal tiger. Still love him now.

Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong

My all-time favourite book, and not just because there are animals in it but it’s all the better for them being there. Wolves, horses, foxes, they’re all in there. And if the baby wolf cub doesn’t break your heart, I think it’s possible you may not be human. Sigh.

Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

Yes, the rather sexy R-Patz stars in the recent movie (always a bonus) but before even he came along, I fell in love with Rosie the elephant and Queenie the dog in this book. Superb book.

A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

Read this on a plane to Norway one Christmas and it melted my heart. A little girl, Patsy, lives on a trailer site near a little town in Alabama and becomes befriended by some of the residents. She makes friend with a redbird called Jack who becomes her bestfriend. Truly heartwarming.

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

I didn’t read this book as a child. In fact I read it for the first time two years ago. Black Beauty is a lovley natured horse who has a great life but his owners are forced to sell him and he starts a life of hardship and cruelty. But even among this there are kind, gentle people who want to help him and of course he makes lots of horsey friends. Lovely.

Dog Boy by Eva Hornung

I just loved this book and can’t understand why it’s not better known. In freezing, communist Moscow and 4 year old Ramochka is fending for himself on the streets when he follows a stray dog to its den and becomes one of their pack. This book is all about the bond between human and animal and it affected me so profoundly that I bawled my eyes out. Fantastic book.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Enzo is the most loyal and lovable dog in the world and he tells us the story of his family through his eyes. Cry much?

Homeless Rats by Ahmed Fagih

I will be reviewing this book tommorow so keep a look out for it.

If Only They Could Talk by Jame Herriott

And finally, if I absolutely HAD to pick one then the prize would go to the James Herriot series. I have only read the first two out of my boxset and I love knowing that I have all the rest to come. James Herriot is a vet in the Yorkshire Dales and his books are laugh-out-loud funny. James tried to fit into the town of hardened Yorkshire farmers and animals with minds of their own. My fabourite characters were Mrs Pumphrey and her dog Tricki Woo had me bent over double, crying with laughter!

  Do you like books with animals? Which other ones can you recommend to me?

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12 thoughts on “Day 29 – A favourite book with animals in it

  1. I know people will probably die when I say this but I HATE BLACK BEAUTY and always have. I know it makes me an outcast in society 😦 However, I love Where the Red Fern Grows! That is my all time favorite animal book, and I can just cry thinking about Old Dan and Little Ann.

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  2. I also love The Art of Racing in the Rain and Water for Elephants. I’ve read The Dogs of babel too but don’t actually remember it that well. One of my favourite animal books from childhood was the Wind in the Willows. I also used to love the children’s TV series of Duncton Woods (I used to collect the Panini stickers when I was at high school – not that any of my peers ever knew that!) and have since bought the series as books from various charity shops. May read them next actually…

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  3. I loved The Dogs of Babel so much that my son went out and bought me a copy after I’d read a library copy. Water for Elephants and Life of Pi were unusually good as well, I agree. And Dog Boy was so powerful, and based on facts too. I can highly recommend many:
    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski, which I reviewed here: http://freshinkbooks.blogspot.com/2008/09/story-of-edgar-sawtelle-by-david.html. Elephant Winter by Kim Echlin: http://freshinkbooks.blogspot.com/2007/11/out-stealing-horses-by-per-petterson.html
    Hannah’s Dream by Diane Hammond: http://freshinkbooks.blogspot.com/2009/01/tss-books-read-this-week_18.html
    Our Horses in Egypt by Rosalind Belben: http://freshinkbooks.blogspot.com/2010/07/library-loot.html
    The Blue Fox by Sjon: http://freshinkbooks.blogspot.com/2009/04/thursday-tea_09.html
    Firmin:Adventures of a Metropolitan Lowlife**** by Sam Savage
    Ape House by Sarah Gruen****
    My Dog Tulip by J. R. Ackerley****
    As you can see I love answering questions about books and reading. Have fun.

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