View Full Version : Favorite animal books?

09-05-2004, 04:52 AM
Mine's Beauty in the Beasts: True Stories of Animals Who Chose to Do Good by Kristin von Kreisler. Tells tales of heroic and "altruistic" animals in the hopes of proving that animals do not always act out of self-preservation and "instinct," and that they often put themselves in danger to help people and other animals.

How about your favorites?

09-05-2004, 04:57 AM
What instantly came to mind was James Herriot's 'All Creatures Great and Small'. Hysterically funny and warm writing.

09-05-2004, 05:04 AM
What instantly came to mind was James Herriot's 'All Creatures Great and Small'. Hysterically funny and warm writing. Oh yes Chucky, any of Herriot's books are worth reading and re-reading until the cows come home. He is my favorite writer of all time in the animal book category.

His entire line is called "All Things Bright and Beautiful Series" and stays on the top list of all animal books even after all these years.

09-05-2004, 07:33 AM
I grew up with Thornton Wilder's Mother West Wind series. Still have a few volumes from the early 50s--in terrible shape, though, they were first read to me, then when I learned to read, I read them over and over for my own enjoyment, then to my sisters.

09-05-2004, 04:52 PM
I was impressed by 'The Scalpel and the Butterfly' as a non-fiction book on research animal use and surrounding issues.

For nicer stuff 'The Animist' a rather surprising magical/fantasy novel. I wrote a great review about it and can't find anyone who'll print it...

09-05-2004, 11:08 PM
Another James Herriot fan here. Also liked The Incredible Journey.

09-06-2004, 04:27 AM
I think I've already mentioned this one once or twice on this board, but my favorite book of all time is _The Wainscott Weasel (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0062059114/qid=1094423194/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/104-5332646-2158361?v=glance&s=books&n=507846)_ . It's by Tor Siedler, and actually out of print right now, but somehow you can still get copies through Amazon.

It's got beautiful illustrations, too, by Fred Marcellino. It's my "happy book" - I read it whenever I'm down.

It's a children's novel, actually, a really simple, quick read. Even if you don't have kids, though... I will push this novel to anyone who'll listen. I even gave it to a friend as a graduation gift.

aka eraser
09-06-2004, 07:12 AM
I love Herriot too. As a kid I was mightily impressed by Ernest Thompson Seton's "Wild Animals I Have Known." I was also a fan of Frank Buck, especially his "Bring 'Em Back Alive."

09-06-2004, 07:57 AM
I liked Gorillas in the Mist.

Littlecupofjoe :coffee

Tish Davidson
09-06-2004, 12:44 PM

I grew up on the Thorton Burgess books too, and still own a lot of them. There were a few that I read so often that I could quote big chunks of (Paddy the Beaver comes to mind). Alas, my own kids did not like them. I think my favorite animal book as a kid was Marguerite Henry's King of the Wind, followed closely by Misty of Chincoteague. I begged in vain for my parent to take me to Pony Penning Day in Virginia and buy me a pony (fat chance).

09-06-2004, 07:44 PM
Black Beauty was the first animal book I read as a child and I loved it. But I think the book that made me want to write animal stories was a collection put out by Reader's Digest back in the sixties. It had a pale green cover with illustrations of animal tracks on it, and was filled with the most wonderful true stories of all types of animals, both wild and tamed. Wish I still had it.

Some of my current favorite animal books are those in the Listening to the Animals collection put out by Guideposts a couple of years ago. Wonderful stories! And I enjoyed Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, too. Can't get through that one without a box of tissues.

09-06-2004, 07:59 PM
King of the Wind grabbed my deepest heart and wrapped it around the love of horses. When I spoke at the Standardbred Museum in NY over the 4th of July the subject of why I do horse rescue kept coming up and Ms. Henry's book was my answer. I happen to provide sanctuary to several SBs and watching them move down the field cavorting with those piledriver knees next to the flow of Thoroughbreds and flitting of Arabians leaves me silent with wonder. All that energy willingly offered to support and befriend humans is a humbling experience.

Writing Again
09-07-2004, 01:34 PM
No one has read Albert Payson Terhune or Jack London?

09-07-2004, 02:58 PM
Jack London, you bet!

Thanks for setting the record straight. I guess my confusion comes from the time I had a small part in Thornton WIlder's Our Town. I grew up on Thornton Burgess's Mother West Wind. I think my favorite animal in them was Sammy Jay. Or maybe Chatterer the Red Squirrel.
But my daughter yawned at them as well, preferring her Poppa's "Titi Ant" stories, told off the cuff at bedtime. One day, I'll have to ressurect them in print.

09-07-2004, 06:16 PM
No one has read Albert Payson Terhune or Jack London? Not only read, but had to replace some of their books - read so many times growing up that the spines were giving out and the pages trying to escape. I have a shelf of old favorites that I run to for comfort that contains White Fang, Lad, Black Caesor, Bruce, and other magic animals that have always had the capacity to touch me deeply. One is never alone when they can carry these books in their memory.

How about the Black Stallion series? Watership Down? My Friend Flicka? The cat that solved all those mysteries?

09-08-2004, 03:35 AM
I read one about a cat who walks through walls (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0441094996/104-4110157-0247966?v=glance) ...
and one about a cat with a door fetish (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0345330129/104-4110157-0247966?v=glance) ...
Not really much about animals, though ...

09-08-2004, 05:04 AM
OMG, I can't believe I forgot about Watership Down! I'm going to admit to being a great big marshmallow of a guy, but that book made me cry.

09-08-2004, 05:26 AM
OMG, I can't believe I forgot about Watership Down! I'm going to admit to being a great big marshmallow of a guy, but that book made me cry. It even made my husband cry, and he is one of those *manly men* that blame tears on the dust in the air. :D Watership Down is one of those books that slide into your heart and memory and just plants itself permamently.


09-08-2004, 07:45 AM
I waz gonna mention it, but it didn't seem to fit with the rest.

Jack London... :thumbs

Writing Again
09-08-2004, 11:51 AM
If we include Watership Down, which has humanized animals as protags, as an animal story, then do we include Animal Farm?

What about YA and children's stories such as Dr. Doolittle and Freddy the Pig?

Tish Davidson
09-08-2004, 02:04 PM
Did anyone read the Jim Kjelgaard (might be spelled worng) dog books? Big Red was probably the best known but there were a bunch of them that I really liked.

09-08-2004, 11:15 PM
humanized animals as protags
Good point, WritingAgain. There are those stories that have animals as animals and those that present animals like people.

Watership Down is special in that their 'animal-ness' is still readily apparent. They aren't like Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny who are essentially people in animal costumes.

09-10-2004, 10:41 PM
As a child, The Fox and the Hound. Read it MANY MANY TIMES! :)

As a kid:

Max, the Dog that Refused to Die

Can't remember the author's name, though.

I loved Seabiscuit but it put more focus on people than it did on the horse.

Also, my number one fave: White Fang.

Writing Again
09-18-2004, 03:19 AM
Rita May Brown, along with her co-author and cat Sneaky Pie Brown, seems to have hit an interesting mix that seems to have developed enough of a fan base for several in the series.

For those who have not read these cozies the animals do seem to retain animalness while talking to each other and discussing the humans around them.

09-18-2004, 06:35 PM


09-18-2004, 10:29 PM
Garfield Wow, how could I forget Garfield? There is a certain air to him that my own cats imitate to perfection. I've always figured that if they could talk, they would sound just like him. :thumbs


11-22-2004, 07:57 AM
All of the "Lad of Sunnybank" books by Albert Peyson Terhune. He wrote stories about his collies, and they always sat by his side on rugs in front of the fireplace.

Kempo Kid
11-29-2004, 03:16 AM
One of my favorite books as a kid was one called "Swamp Cat." Can't remember the author, but that was one feisty little kitty.

I also liked Tailchaser's Song, and Tanya Huff's Summoning series.

I admit it. A cat on the cover will make me pick up the book.