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?


  1. Has she read the Redwall series by Brian Jacques? I ADORED them as a kid. Mice, though, not wolves. Mice living in an abbey. Although there's also badgers and squirrels and evil rats, and quests and swords and ancient lore. There were only three when I was little, but I think there's about a million of them now.

    There's also Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver - although the protagonist is a human boy who has a wolf cub.

  2. What about Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH? I loved that book as a kid. All mice and rats. Maybe humans are there in the background but I don't remember any human characters. Also the Moomintroll books?

  3. Great ideas, thanks! I'd forgotten about Redwall, I think we actually have one somewhere too. And I need to read the Rats of NIMH myself, thanks for reminding me.
    We are across the Moomins well and truly :-)

  4. I grew up with Thornton Burgess, and there's Kipling, of course. Older children read The Jungle Book and the Just So Stories for their use of the English language. I also recommend the Green Sky trilogy by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, which began with Below the Root. I don't suppose Narnia qualifies, nor Jack London's Call of the Wild. The Wind in the Willows is too young, isn't it? T. H. White's The Sword in the Stone is a series of animal episodes, and if Evie goes on from The Sword in the Stone to The Once and Future King, so much the better!

  5. i'm having the same problem! I've been trying to trace a book that i read myself. it's similar to the warriors, but it's about badger clans. problem is, i can't remember the title or the author. anyone got any ideas?