Animal Books

Charlotte's Web, Black Beauty and The Hundred and One Dalmatians are the only 'animal books' that really captured my imagination as a child. By animal books I mean books told pretty much from the animals' point of view. I'm not counting pony books, where the main characters were the aspiring pony-owners, not the horses themselves; I read a ton of those!

But stories focused on the experiences of the animals left me pretty cold, on the whole. Ring of Bright Water (otters) was recommended to me, but it didn't grab me. The Incredible Journey was a favourite of  some of my friends (from memory, two dogs and a cat cross country to get home) -- to me, giant yawnfest. I did read Watership Down (rabbits) in high school, but only once, and I think I dealt with that by forgetting that they were rabbits.

This has left me at something of a disadvantage in later life, because Evie is a voracious reader, but she really prefers her books to have non-human protagonists, and I'm a bit stuck for recommendations. Her current favourites are a seemingly endless series of books about clans of cats in the wild, called the Warrior books. The appeal seems to be the tangled set of relationships, alliances and feuds that unfold between the cats. She says that sometimes sad things happen, but it's easier to deal with sad things when they're happening to cats, not people (she is very sensitive). She's been getting through Warrior books at the rate of one every couple of days -- they are 300-odd pages each -- and I'm getting worried about what she's going to do when they run out!

What she would really love would be a similar set of sagas about a pack of wolves -- but not too tragic. Any ideas?


Puppy Panic!

Only five more sleeps until we get our puppy!

It's happening a little bit sooner than we thought, actually, so now we have gone into a frenzy of puppy-equipment-buying, puppy-proofing and name-debating (currently the favourite option is Willow).

It's quite amusing to reflect that each of us has turned to our preferred source of information collection to prepare for this momentous event in our lives. Michael likes to ask for advice from his friends and work colleagues about what to expect. Evie has turned to the internet and has done lots of research, and has practically memorised the Wonder Dogs DVD we acquired a couple of years ago (as a substitute for an actual puppy, I seem to recall -- ah, well.) When in doubt, she's decided to fall back on cuddles. Alice is full of doomful predictions about what's going to happen when the puppy chews the computer cords, or runs away, or wreaks havoc in her room because we (ie me) haven't puppy-proofed sufficiently. Also, she keeps reminding us that we've promised her rabbits at some point...

Meanwhile, I am doing what I always do when I'm faced with a big change in my life: having a baby, buying a house, dealing with a learning difficulty or a toddler behavioural issue. I'm off to the library to find a fat, reassuring BOOK by an expert!

Poor little Willow won't know what's hit her.