Monday, April 27, 2015

Favorite and Fabulous Animal Stories


Congratulations, Rosi H! You won THE DEATH OF A HAT by Paul B. Janeczko!

Animal stories have always been popular. Ancient peoples told stories of mythic animals depicting universal truths about humanity. Over two thousand years ago, Aesop told the story of the fox that coveted a bunch of juicy grapes, of the frog who wanted to be king, and of the proud town mouse who visited his country mouse cousin.


 Animal stories have always been some of my favorites reads, including Anne Sewell’s Black Beauty (1877), Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (1971), Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion (1941), and the quintessential animal story, E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web (1952).

 And this year, I’ve found more to add to my collection!


 
 
Lumpito and the Painter from Spain (Pajama Press, April 2013): Monica Kulling’s poetic narrative retells the story of a special friendship with sparse eloquence. Dean Griffith’s rich, vivid watercolors capture the luscious landscape, the bold personality of the painter, the soulful expression of Lumpito as he dodges Big Dog, and Lump’s sheer delight as he finds his new home. A gorgeous and rewarding tale of love, and a perfect read-aloud for a rainy – or any -- day!




When Emily Carr Met Woo (Pajama Press, August 2014): Monica Kulling is the master of biography. Her series depicting little known inventors, Great Ideas, remains one of my favorites on the topic. However, it is when her biography showcases the iconic relationships between human and animal that her poetic narrative truly shines. This book follows eccentric Canadian artist Emily Coo, who lives in a camper she calls Elephant. She takes her puppies for walks using a baby carriage.
Folks called the painter a strange bird! One day Emily Carr adopts a small lonely monkey, whom she calls Woo. And the fun begins!




Call Me Amy (Paperback, Luminis Books, 2013): Marcia Strykowski’s coming of age story is a wonder. Amy Anderson is the shy protagonist. The quirky Miss Cogshell is dubbed Old Coot by the town’s children. And the mysterious Craig, the most popular boy in class who doesn’t have any real friends. One day, Craig finds a stranded, injured seal pup and asks Amy to help him, and the three come together to save Pup. This book reminds me in many ways of Hoot, the 2003 Newbery Honor by Carl Hiaasen.




Snow Ponies (Paperback, Square Fish Reprint, October 2013): First published in 2001, the book begins “On a cold, gray day, Old Man Winter leads his snow ponies outside. "Are you ready?" he asks. Using her signature quiet, poetic narrative, Cynthia Cotten captures the magic of winter as Old Man  Winter takes the snow ponies across the frigid landscape. As the ponies gallop, faster and faster, everything they touch turns white with snow. This is a poetic masterpiece, and a perfect read aloud.




  It’s Raining Bats & Frogs! (Feiwel & Friends, August 2015): What’s a witch to do when a rainstorm threatens the Halloween Parade? Rebecca Colby’s book doesn’t come out until August, 2015, but I can’t wait! I loved Rebecca’s previous book, There Was a Wee Lassie Who Swallowed a Midgie (Floris Books, May 2014). Her language in this retelling of the familiar tale of the the old woman who swallowed a fly was so much fun! Rebecca used the Scottish landscape to tell the story about “a wee Lassie who swallowed a midgie, so tiny and squidgy!” I have no doubts this one will be just as entertaining!



 “Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.” -- Charlotte's Web, E.B. White 

What are your favorite animal stories?

Bobbi Miller




17 comments:

Monica Kulling said...

That IS a tremendous thing! Thank you Bobbi! :)

Rebecca C said...

Great post, Bobbi! So pleased you're looking forward to "Bats & Frogs" and I look forward to looking up some of the books you've mentioned that I've not come across before. Two of my childhood favorites were "George and Martha" by James Marshall and "Amigo" by Byrd Baylor and Garth Williams. In fact, I featured one of the George and Martha stories in a school assembly I did on respect last year and the kids loved them too.

Yvonne Ventresca said...

I love stories with animal themes. Besides those you mentioned, I also enjoyed Because of Winn Dixie and Love That Dog.

Bobbi Miller said...

Monica: Well, you know how much I love The Lump! He's the bestest!

Bobbi Miller said...

Rebecca: What great choices! I love Byrd Baylor, too! All of her books are just so very grand, but I love her Hawk, I'm Your Brother and Desert Voices. I love the Garth Williams illustrations for Charlotte's Web.

Bobbi Miller said...

Yvonne: Because of Winn Dixie, most certainly!! Another one I just love so much -- speaking of dog stories -- is The Underneath, By Kathi Appelt. So many good stories!

marciastrykowski.com said...

This is great! Thanks so much for including CALL ME AMY (and Pup the harbor seal!)in this fun post. I'm looking forward to checking out your other selections. :)

Bobbi Miller said...

Thank you, Marcia! I also love the sequel to Call Me Amy, by the way. The characters are just so well drawn!

Victoria Zigler said...

I love animal stories so much that I write loads of my own!

Black Beauty and Charlotte's Web are among my favourites too, along with Bonnie Bryant's Pony Tails books, and the Redwall books. Plus, so many others I'd be here all day listing them if I was to list every animal story I've loved.

Looking forward to checking out some of those you mentioned.

Rosi said...

You have some good ones here. I will be looking for It's Raining Bats and Frogs. It looks really cute. I really liked A Hundred Horses by Sarah Lean.

Bobbi Miller said...

Victoria: I LOVED the Redwall series. What a good choice! What an impressive series, twenty-two books in all. I haven't read the final books (including Sable Queen and Rogue Crew), but you have reminded me to do so. Thank you!

Bobbi Miller said...

Hi Rosie: I've not heard of your recommendation so I looked it up. Wow! It looks very intriguing and I have put it on my list. I think I'd also like Lean's A Dog Called Homeless.

Christina Banach said...

Thanks for another great post. I'm a sucker for animals in a story. I fell in love with Call Me Amy's Pup - and the book.

Bobbi Miller said...

I so agree, Christina!

jan godown annino said...

Bobbi,
Your menagerie of titles are fun or sweet to consider. Thanks for the head's up about books new to me.

I feel a heart connection with THAT QUAIL, ROBERT
by Margaret A. Stanger who was a neighbor on Cape Cod of a couple who raised a quail from an egg. The quail showed a real personality.
The illustrations are by a teen/young lady of the neighborhood. I first enjoyed this book about Robert, who was actually a Roberta, about age 13 & it remains a book I love.

Bobbi Miller said...

Thank you for your kind words, Jan. And, I am checking out THAT QUAIL, ROBERT. By your description, it reminds me of the book, RASCAL, by Sterling North, the story of a raccoon. North was another favorite author of mine. Thank you for the recommendation!

Penny Parker Klostermann said...

Thanks for this list, Bobbi! I will be on the lookout for these! Rebecca Colby is in my critique group. I haven't read the final text from It's Raining Bats and Frogs, but I can tell you the story is super cute and clever!