Tuesday 10 March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books For People Who Like Animals'.

Something that I really love to read about in books is animal companions. Whether it's pets such as cats, dogs and rabbits, or wild creatures like birds, foxes and tigers, they always manage to make a story interesting in a lot of ways. Especially if they are a big part of the plot-line. Here are some of my favourites!

1) 'Watership Down'; Richard Adams.

I imagine that a fair few people are going to know what this story is about, or at least have heard of it. 'Watership Down' is considered a classic by a fair amount of people, ad has countless TV Shows and Movies based on the original novel. It is of course about rabbits! Not the pet kind however, but the wild ones you find in burrows in the countryside. More specifically, it's about a group of them who set off to find a new home, after their old burrow is threatened by man. The beautiful thing about this book is Adams not only makes these rabbits able to think and communicate well, but he gives them all hopes, dreams and beliefs that made me do an awful lot of reflecting.

2) 'Cool!'; Michael Morpurgo.

I remember reading this book quite a while ago, back when I was a child. The story is actually about a young boy who chases his dog out into the road, is hit by a car and ends up in a coma for a long time. We get to hear it from his perspective, and the fact that he hears and knows exactly what his parents are saying and desperately wants to answer them and find out if his dog survived, dreading the day they will decide to let him go for good. While a touching and heart-wrenching tale, it does have a happy ending and of course, the dog itself is who we have to thank!

3) 'Mr Galliano's Circus'; Enid Blyton.

Speaking of childhood books, this was one of my favourites as a childhood. For the animal lover, it has so many animals! Seals, parrots, horses, monkeys, you name it and they were there! Of course my favourite to read about were Lucky the dog and Jumbo the elephant, and a good majority of the stories were focused around those two. A great children's story and a necessity if you love animals!

4) The 'Lionboy' Series; Zizou Corder.

Now this book is a little different in that it shows the slightly crueler side of circuses, but that isn't the main focus of the story. The young hero, Charlie, has gained the ability to speak to big cats and in doing so, the attention of a pretty deadly organisation. After his parents are kidnapped he embarks on an adventure that sees him try to find them again, while freeing a pride of Lions from a circus and countless other things along the way. This was such a great series and I really recommend it.

5) 'Life Of Pi'; Yann Martel.

Oh, come on! Of course this book was going to be here! The whole plot revolves around one boy and his fight to survive on a boat while sharing it with a tiger. It's won and been nominated for a few awards and having read it, I can see why! As well as the tiger, we do get to meet a zebra, an orangutan and a hyena too, though these circumstances aren't the happiest. I loved the movie as well, and I would definitely describe this one as a Classic in the making!

6) 'The Secret Garden'; Frances Hodgson-Burnett.

Let's move away from big cats for a while and look at some smaller favourites of mine. One of the things I truly remember adoring about this book (other than the characters and plot) was the little robin that constantly appeared throughout. It seemed in it's own way to understand what the characters were saying and wanted, and yet I always smiled when it appeared because I knew it could only be there for a good reason. As one of Mary's only companions for a good portion of the book, it became a firm favourite animal of mine.

7) 'Coraline'; Neil Gaiman.

Speaking of companions, the cat in Gaiman's 'Coraline' is just absolutely fantastic! The fact that it talks is one thing, but it's just so clever! And despite acting just as a cat should (aloof, uncaring and too smart for it's own good), it does prove itself a loyal and quite helpful friend in the end. The cat was probably my favourite part of the book, particularly as it had some of the funniest and most sarcastic lines of all the characters. It provided the comic relief when the book was getting a little tense and creepy at just the right times.

8) 'James & The Giant Peach'; Roald Dahl.

I almost completely forgot about this book but it is not one to be overlooked! It was one of the first stories I ever read that made me look at bugs in an endearing way! Anyone who knows me will tell you that I stay a good distance away from ladybirds and grasshoppers, earthworms and centipedes freak me out and spiders are a big no! And yet, I loved these characters and totally rooted for them in this beloved children's story. If you haven't already read this book and seen the movie, I suggest you do (unless you're scared of rhinos...then it will give you nightmares for a year).

9) 'The Walled City'; Ryan Graudin.

This is a really recent read of mine, but I loved it! One of my favourite aspects of the book was Jin Ling's cat, Chma! It's name derives from it's bizarre sounding sneeze (instantly cute) and it follows Jin Ling around like a loyal puppy! I love that their bond is so close that they sense each other's moods and that Jin senses immediately that something is wrong in his surroundings based on Chma's reaction. It is one survivor of a cat and I'm glad it got a happy ending too!

10) 'The Bees'; Laline Paull.

A small part of me is still screaming 'Are insects animals?' but at this point, I don't care. Bees are another bug that scare me, yet I really liked this book because I felt like Paull thought and researched a lot about bee patterns, behaviours, hives and lives. I actually felt that if bees do have thoughts then this is how they think, and yet there was a semblance of plot and character too so it didn't become boring. A really cool book and one I would love to revisit!

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