I love all the great booklists that bloggers have put together like Jen Robinson’s List of 200 Cool Girls from children’s literature, Journey Woman’s list of Great Antagonists of Kids’ Lit! and the list of 100 Cool Teachers in Children’s literature over at A Reading Year. But as I read the lists I realized that something was missing. Something that quite often walked around with legs and a tail and a personality that that dared us to forget them.
Yes, I am talking about a new list, 100 Animals (or maybe more) that hold our heart from children’s literature.
Here’s the catch – no talking animals, only realistic portrayals of dogs being dogs, cats being cats, and so on. What do you say? Who should be on the list? I’ll start it off. Once we get to a nice round number (dare I hope for 100?) I’ll compile a master list.
100 Animals (or maybe more) that hold our heart from children’s literature
1) The dog Old Yeller from Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
2) Another dog called Winn-Dixie from Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
3) Flag the fawn in The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
4) The very special dog Shiloh from the book Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
5) Hunting dogs Old Dan and Little Ann from Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Your turn! What animal in children’s literature has a hold on your heart?
The Black from the The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
Oh yes. Thank you. I wore that book out when I was a tween.
I’m on my third copy, and my 7year old daughter is reading the series. I’m very proud of the fact that she likes it and is such a reader.
That wonderful, crispy turkey from A Christmas Carol.
Wasn’t it a goose?
Yeah. My mistake. Given how nasty live geese are, that’s all the more reason to love this crispy bird.
Hey, that turkey fares no worse than many animals in children’s books! 🙂
LOL David on the goose/turkey.
There was a goose in the neighborhood where I grew up and he guarded the well in the front yard, the well you had to walk past to get to the front door. The front door I could NEVER reach on Halloween.
Clifford the BIG Red Dog and Curious George
Yes, especially George.
I loved the dog in Island of the Blue Dolphins–I remember wanting to name my new kitten after that, but no one liked the name.
I don’t remember the dog there. I’m going to have to go home and scan the book again. Thanks.
MIsty of Chincoteague.
oh yes, can’t forget Misty. I had all those horse books growing up. Wish I still had my copies. Sigh.
Beverly Cleary’s Strider
The mongoose Rikki Tikki Tavi in Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Books 2 (there is an adapted version by Jerry Pinkney)
Strider, yes. Ohh and Rikki Tikki Tavi, another non-dog. Love it. Thank you.
Charlotte the spider.
Ah but Charlotte talks. 🙂
Yes, she does. As do all animals. 🙂
I agree that all animals talk and although Charlotte acts like a traditional spider, she still talks to Wilbur so I’m not sure she fits on my Not-talking animal list. 🙂
I may have to make an exception for an exceptional spider, but we’ll see. 🙂
Sorry, I missed that part of the post. My defense is that I answered before the sun was up, and before coffee!
pre-coffee posting I SO understand. 🙂
I’m trying to quit coffee but it is hard when the alarm goes off at 5am.
Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty and the falcon Frightful from Jean Craighead’s, My Side of the Mountain.
Love this list idea, btw!
Love the falcon. I was trying to figure out on Black Beauty because don’t we see it through her eyes? I think I might need a sub list for Beauty and Charlotte and Wilbur.
Yep, you’re right! It’s been so long since I read Black Beauty, I forgot about that. Couldn’t Buck from Call of the Wild also make that sublist?
For the main list, what about Little Black from Walter Farley’s picture book, Little Black, a Pony? Loved that book. I can still can make me cry! 😉
That was me, btw. No clue why I wasn’t automatically logged in!
I do that all the time. Plus since I have Oliver’s blog I sometimes accidently log on as him and then things get really confusing. 🙂
Lad (and Lady) from LAD: A DOG by Albert Payson Terhune.
More good ones. Thanks. I need to find some more non-dogs. 🙂
Haki the Shetland Pony by Kathleen Fidler. I *loved* Haki, and his relationship with Adam. It is one of the few non-talking animal books that I enjoyed so much that I still re-read the book.
Ooh, one I don’t know at all. Thanks, Cheryl.
Do magical creatures count? If they’re behaving as that magical creature would?
I’m thinking Norbert and Buckbeak off the top of my head…
The wyvern in Hatching Magic.
Bill the pony in the Hobbit.
We’ll think. More later.
oh Bill is getting a couple of votes. I’m going to have to do more research this weekend to see what I can find.
Bill the pony in The Lord of the Rings.
The trio from The Incredible Journey.
Incredible Journey! Yes, I’d forgotten them.
Jack the dog from the Little House books. I always cry when he dies!
Jack has a few votes now.
What a fun idea!
Hachiko (true story) featured in both Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman and Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog by Pamela Turner
The Ghost of Greyfriar’s Bobby (little dog)
Both Rosie and Dave in Let’s Get a Pup Said Kate and The Trouble With Dogs Said Dad by Bob Graham
Gracie (dog) from The Great Gracie Chase by Cynthia Rylant
Pinkerton (dog) from the books by Steven Kellogg
and many more!
Great additions, thank you!
Big Red, don’t remember the author
The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be by Farley Mowat
Yes to both of these. Thanks.
Don’t forget that Mutt also stars in “Owls In The House” by Farley Mowatt.
Balto! From the Balto storybooks. I dont know who wrote the one me and my sister owned as kids, but there have been quite a few picture books and novelizations.
A relative newcomer: Marley the Dog from the children’s version of Marley and Me by John Grogan (I think it is titled Marley)
Searchlight from the short story “Stone Fox” by John Reynolds Gardiner. I remember reading it in grade school–it made me cry!
Oh gosh I loved Marley. I didn’t know there was a kid version.
It just came out this summer. There is a children’s chapter book and a picture book about a fictional family and Marley. 🙂
King of the Wind, the dog (name escapes me) in Call of the Wild, Shade the bat in Silverwing.
Thanks. I’ve not heard of Silverwing. I’ll go check it out.
Kenneth Oppel is a Canadian writer. Very good. (I’m sure his books are available in the U.S.) He has a trilogy about Shade’s adventures: Silverwing, Sunwing, Firewing. Now there’s a prequel of sorts out called Darkwing.
I’m a dog person, but since fabulousfrock already mention Jack from the LIttle House books (and the famous heart-wrenching death scene, don’t get me started: he turned around three times, and..) I’ll speak up for the best cat, Seal, from Sarah, Plain and Tall.
Yeah, a cat! 🙂
And no, let’s not revisit that death scene.
Uncle Hazzard in Gentle’s Holler and Louisiana’s Song.
The dog (forgot his name), in The Penderwicks.
Uncle Hazzard, of course!
read The Penderwicks. Will have to find the dog.
The dog in Because of Winn Dixie. 🙂
(How realistic is realistic? The horse in my Phantom Rider books doesn’t talk, but she isn’t actually alive anymore, either …)
I adore Winn Dixie!
And LOL – I should have mentioned that the animal should also be alive.
And one more dog: Timmy from the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton.
Also, two that don’t talk, but aren’t exactly realistic: Hedwig and Crookshanks from the Harry Potter books. Include them or not, as you wish.
Thanks for Enid Blyton which reminded me of, of course, Lassie!
Not sure what to do about the magical ones. I see lists with sub-lists that have sub-lists. 🙂
Darn, someone already got The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be. Buuuut:
Wol And Weeps, the great horned owls from Owls In The Family, also by Farley Mowat.
Rascal the raccoon, from Rascal, by Sterling North.
Robert the quail, from That Quail, Robert, by Margaret Stanger.
All literary animals who left a lasting impression upon me when I was young. :>
Jack and Frightful
Has someone already mentioned Jack the brindle bulldog, from Little House?
And Frightful, the peregrine falcon from My Side of the Mountain?
And it’s okay to repeat. I think I’m going to dump them all into a survey or something to vote for the top 10.
I always liked Cat from It’s Like This, Cat, by Emily Neville.
Yes! And that just reminded me of the dog whose name I can’t remember from Cages and another dog whose name I also can’t remember from Out of Nowhere.
Eloise’s dog, Weenie, and her turtle, Skipperdee from the ELOISE books.
RIBSY from Beverly Cleary’s RAMONA and HENRY HUGGINS books
Also, the cat, Socks (not the Clintons’ cat) from her book, SOCKS. Though the cat was the viewpoint character, he did not talk and was an ordinary house cat.
Ram Dass’s monkey from A LITTLE PRINCESS was a very important character.
My daughter suggests Misty and Stormy from the MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE books.
Shiloh from SHILOH
Biscuit (“Woof, woof! Biscuit wants to play!”) from the BISCUIT early readers.
Also, Mudge from the HENRY AND MUDGE books.
THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR.
Oh, I just remembered one of my favorites from when I was a kid — the Piebald in NATIONAL VELVET.
And a question: Am I remembering incorrectly or did Clifford in the early (pre-TV series) CLIFFORD books also not talk? I know we have some where he doesn’t, and I think they are the same ones I read as a kid, but now, they’re all mixed up with the TV series tie-in books.
Oh, and . . .
Of course, the swan, Louis, from E.B. White’s THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN rather famously did not talk (He was a mute, hence the trumpet). However, he *was* anthropomorphic and played the trumpet, so I’m not sure what category you’d place him in.
Wow – I hit the jackpot with your comment. Thanks so much.
Excellent question and this may already be in your list, but I have to say..
Despereaux from The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (from when I was a grownup)-my little hero Knight in the guise of a mouse!
All the puppies The One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith-loved the drama and adventure and the big family they became in the end.
Buck from Call of the Wild by Jack Londan-that story broke my heart over and over, so so sad. It was Buck’s heart kept me reading.
Repeats are good. They let me know which animals are more popular. Thank you!
A Bear Named Trouble by Marion Dane Bauer
Real live animals in books
How about real animals? I still want to visit Africa to get a glimpse of the giraffe and the warthog that Betty Leslie-Melville wrote about in “Daisy Rothschild” and “Walter Warthog.” And I was an adult when I read the books!
Re: Real live animals in books
Ack – not sure about them but they are good choices too. Funny how I thought a list would be so easy but there are more things to think about than I realized.
The Dancing Cats of Applesap by Janet Taylor Lisle
Tigger, Mary Anne’s kitten, from The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin
I missed this one last year, somehow. The list below may have a few duplicates from other people’s suggestions, but…. 8)
Chiri, the dog from Snow Dog and Wild Trek (Jim Kjelgaard
the eponymous dog from The Duck-Footed Hound (Kjelgaard)
the bloodhound (Smoky?) from A Nose for Trouble and Trailing Trouble (Kjelgaard – it’s really a shame that so many of his books are out of print!)
Ribsy, from the Henry Huggins books (Beverly Cleary)
Kiki, the cockatoo from the “Adventure” series (Enid Blyton)
Reddy, the Irish setter from the Trixie Belden series (Julie Campbell and “Kathryn Kenny”)
the three animals from The Incredible Journey (Sheila Burnford)
the eponymous mustang from Smoky the Cow Horse (Will James)
the dog from White Fang (Jack London)
Not from children’s literature, but worth mentioning:
Bast and especially El Senor, the cats from the Luis Mendoza series (Dell Shannon)
Elsa the lioness, from Born Free (Joy Adamson)
the eponymous raccoon from Rascal (Sterling North)
The lion (Elsa?) in Joy Adams’ Born Free.
The horse in Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty.
Rex (and all the other dogs)in James Thurber’s My Life and Hard Times.
Now for a couple of borderline ones.
How about the rabbit in Marjorie Williams Bianco’s The Velveteen Rabbit?
And if you go there, then Beatrix Potter’s rabbits. Probably candidates for sub-list 37.