Top 5 Novels About Animals

doggies

Many children spend time reading about their favorite animals while growing up. Books about animals, particularly fictional stories, can be both inspiring and heart-wrenching. This list compiles several tried-and-true classic novels about different kinds of animals. Both middle-grade children and adults may enjoy these books (although some children may need to grow up more before tackling Watership Down).

*Book descriptions provided by the publishers, c/o the library catalog

 

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford

A Siamese cat, an old bull terrier, and a young Labrador retriever travel together 250 miles through the Canadian wilderness to find their family.

 

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

Paul and his sister Maureen’s determination to own a pony from the herd on Chincoteague Island, Virginia, is greatly increased when the Phantom and her colt are among the ponies rounded up for the yearly auction.

 

Watership Down by Richard Wright

Chronicles the adventures of a group of rabbits searching for a safe place to establish a new warren where they can live in peace.

 

It’s Like This, Cat by Emily Neville

The story of a fourteen-year-old New York boy and his relationships with a stray tomcat, an eccentric old woman, a troubled older boy, the first girl with whom he has been friends, and his father.

 

The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

Rob, who passes the time in his rural Florida community by wood carving, is drawn by his spunky but angry friend Sistine into a plan to free a caged tiger.

 

 

Matthew’s Monday Movie: “War Horse”

Director Steven Spielberg has brought audiences many fantastic and awe-inspiring films set as historical period pieces. However, his 2011 hit War Horse showed us an often-overlooked period that is currently experiencing a resurgence of interest: WWI. This film is as much a war film as it is a story of the triumph of the human spirit and the bond people naturally share with animals.

The plot revolves around a horse who is auctioned off and sold to an English farmer. The farmer’s son, Albert, soon comes to love the horse and names him Joey. The two quickly become inseparable. Unfortunately, fate steps in, and war is declared on Germany in 1914. The farmer, short on funds, must sell Joey to the British Army for the war effort.

During the course of the war, Joey is captured and forced to serve the Germans. Joey has brief moments of freedom and kinship with those soldiers and civilians who are kind to him. As the war drags on, Albert eventually comes of age and is drafted into the British army. Albert still remembers his beloved horse and hopes against hope that he may be lucky enough to one day be reunited with his long lost friend.

War Horse is a fantastic film; it features Spielberg at his very best. War Horse features the gritty and heartbreaking periods of war and strife while at the same time focusing on the love and inner humanity that animals help bring out in us all. This film was based on a 1982 novel by Michael Morpurgo by the same name, and Steven Spielberg has done an amazing job in bringing this book to life. The cast is quite large and star-studded with top celebrities such as Jeremy Irving, Peter Mullan, Emily Watson, David Thewlis, Tom Hiddleston, and Benedict Cumberbatch. The set design and period clothing take you right back in time. The film’s moving and emotional score is composed by the great John Williams, who is always a staple in any Steven Spielberg film.

War Horse was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture and still holds a 75% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.

War Horse is available at the Union University Library. It’s rated PG-13 for war-related violence and some language. We are also happy to offer both the novel and audiobook in these links below: