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1 Challenge Books 003

There are so many stories that feature or include animals of all kinds, real and imaginary.  Some books are based on the story of the animal itself such as Sounder, Old Yeller, Black Beauty, Misty of Chincoteague, and Big Red.  

Some books have animal companions that bring relief to the reader and to the protagonist such as the dogs that V. I. Warshawski has who go with her on her runs on the Lake Michigan shore or Maxine, the lab that rides with Box’s Joe Pickett. Joe’s friend has falcons.   Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum has a hamster and her friend Joe has a dog named Bob.  Parker’s Spenser and Susan have a dog.  There is a lab named Rocky in Safe House by Chris Ewan.  He eats everything in sight including vinyl seat covers.

In some stories the animal friend plays a part in the plot.  In Protector by C. J. Cherryh, the aiji’s son Cajieri has a small animal named Boji who is something like a monkey that plays a part in the story and in Donna Andrew’s zany mysteries there is a small dog named Spike.  He is not a companion type animal or a comic relief like the llamas might be that is for sure, and he is often important to the plot.  In Chasing Darkness by Crais, Maggie, a dog, is important.  

Lillian Jackson Braun’s mysteries feature cats, Koko and Yum Yum, as does Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody who has Bastet. Hillerman’s Jim Chee has a feral cat.

A list of detective stories with cats is here:


Of course, in dragon stories, the dragon is usually a main character or vital to the story as Temeraire is in Novik’s books.  In the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings there are eagles and Gandalf’s horse, Shadowfax.

In Harry Potter, the phoenix, Fawkes, is important in the story.  Owls and mythical beasts play a part:

Werewolf, Lupin
Winged Horses (Thestrals)
Hippogriff, Buckbeak,
Centaur, Firenze
Cats, Hermione’s cat, Crookshanks, and Professor McGonagall
Fang, the boarhound, Hagrid’s dog

Watership Down by Richard Adams has rabbits as the characters.

Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams has cats.

The Last Unicorn by Beagle is magical.

Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann has sheep as detectives.

All Creatures Great and Small and the sequels by James Herriot have farm animals and dogs.

What favorite stories that you enjoy have animals?

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Robert Fuller says that chapter three of The Rowan Tree is up online:


Here is the back cover description of "The Rowan Tree":

As the Arthurian myth sowed the seeds of a democratic Britain, The Rowan Tree foretells a dignitarian world. This novel of ideas brims with deep secrets, illicit loves, quixotic quests, transformative failures—and inextinguishable hope.

The Rowan Tree is a family saga that reaches from the rebellious 1960s into humanity’s global future. An international cast of characters pursues sports, ballet, love, and politics, and ultimately enacts the coming of age of America on the world stage.

NOTE: plf515 has book talk on Wednesday mornings early

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Wed Apr 24, 2013 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.


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