Monday, February 05, 2007

The Animals Have It!

For young animal lovers, here are some suggestions for you.....
I have a deep love and appreciation for animals, both domestic and wild. As an animal lover, I enjoy reading books that highlight the animal-human bond, have animals themselves as integral characters, and/or showcase the remarkable lives of animals who have overcome incredible obstacles to survive. January was a frigid month and it looks like February is following in that path, so curl up under a blanket next to a cozy fire with a cup of cocoa and enjoy these reads.
A Dog's Life: The Autobiography of a Stray by: Ann M. Martin
This is a well-crafted, nicely paced story told through the voice of Squirrel, the stray dog. The reader gets a clear sense of what it is like to be immersed in the sights, sounds, smells, and dangers of a dog's world (reminiscent of Black Beauty). Life is hard for a stray dog who eventually finds himself a loving home. The novel centers on the themes of love, loyalty, perserverance, and overcoming obstacles. A great read for dog lovers ages 8-12.
Sheep by: Valerie Hobbs
A delightful story (for ages 8-12) about the trials and tribulations of a young border collie who narrates his adventurous tale. After a fire destroys the farm where he is born, the young border collie must venture out on his own. He quickly learns about the harshness and beauty of life as he acquires a series of good and not so good owners. The border collie's dream is to fulfill his purpose of living on a farm and herding the sheep. Like a human, the dog learns that life can either make or break you and, no matter what, you should never give up on your dreams.
Welcome to the Bed and Biscuit by: Joan Carris
A charming, humorous, and fun book (for ages 7-11) about an old vet who opens up a bed and breakfast for animals only. Dr. Bender cares deeply for the pets he considers a part of his family (a mini-pig, a mynnah bird, and a cat). When he comes home carrying a "mystery box" after a neighbor's barn fire, the pets go to great lengths to discover what is in the box. The pets become disgruntled with the amount of time and effort Dr. Bender devotes to this new creature in the box. Will the pets be able to accept a new animal member for their family? Great characterization and funny situations!
Walter: The Story of a Rat by: Barbara Wersba
This is a delightful, old-fashioned tale of an unlikely friendship between a rat and an old woman, who writes children's books. This is a pure pleasure to read alone or aloud and has a deeply satisfying ending. The lovely illustrations are a nice complement to the story. (for ages 7-12)
Whittington by: Alan Armstrong
A delightful interwoven tale of Whittington the cat and his exciting ancestral history and of Ben, a young boy who's struggling to learn how to read. This is a beautiful story filled with wonderful human and animal characters . The power of storytelling, both written and spoken, is dramatically evoked. This book offers suspense, history, terrific characters and compelling situations. (for ages 9-13)
I hope you enjoy these animal-inspired stories!
~ Gail Brown