anthropomorphic animals

Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies

Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies

In 1972, Richard Adams’ classic fantasy novel Watership Down was first published. This exciting adventure follows the travels of a group of rabbits seeking a new home after the destruction of their warren.  Evocatively written and imaginatively plotted, this novel excelled in portraying the world we humans perceive as mundane as a place filled with danger and mystery, and also excelled in its depiction of the primitive religion and folklore the rabbits created to explain the natural environment.  After I finished reading Watership Down a couple of months ago, I searched for a similar fantasy told from the perspective of animals, but finding a novel of its caliber proved difficult.  Many of the other animal-centered fantasy stories I found were either too deliberately whimsical or too childish to live up to Adams’ novel. Eventually I found David Clement-Davies’ Fire Bringer and decided to give it a try based on the recommendation by Adams on the back cover.  Filled with adventure, suspense, and gripping depictions of the natural world, this novel lived up to my lofty expectations.

Summer According to Humphrey

By Betty G. Birney

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When Humphrey hears that school is ending, he can't believe his ears. What's a classroom hamster to do if there's no more school? It turns out that Mrs. Brisbane has planned something thrilling for Humphrey and Og the frog: they're going to Camp Happy Hollow with Ms. Mac and lots of the kids from Room 26! Camp is full of FUN-FUN-FUN new experiences, but it's also a little scary. There are fur-raising wild sounds and smells, and there's something called the Howler to watch out for. Humphrey is always curious about new adventures, but could camp be too wild even for him?
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Bless This Mouse

By Lois Lowry

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Mouse Mistress Hildegarde musters all her ingenuity to keep a large colony of church mice safe from the exterminator and to see that they make it through the dangerous Blessing of the Animals.
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Houndsley and Catina

By James Howe

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Houndsley and Catina run into trouble when they decide to prove that they are the best at cooking and writing, respectively.
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Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt; illustrated by Louise Yates

Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt; illustrated by Louise Yates

Young Fredle grows up repeatedly hearing the rules about how mice behave. Sometimes it seems like life between the walls of the kitchen is nothing but rules. One of the most important rules is that mice don’t change. But that doesn’t dampen Fredle’s curiosity and sense of adventure. Finally, his mother’s predictions come true, and his curious nature and sweet tooth get Fredle in deep trouble. And so Fredle finds himself Outside.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

Wildwood by Colin Meloy

How five crows managed to lift a twenty-pound baby boy into the air was beyond Prue, but that was certainly the least of her worries.

So begins Colin Meloy’s debut novel Wildwood, in which a girl named Prue journeys into the Impassable Wilderness, a dense maze of a forest outside her hometown of Portland, Oregon, in order to retrieve her brother--with an awkward classmate named Curtis tagging along. Due to some misfortune involving coyotes decked out in military uniforms, the two children must separately navigate this strange world where talking animals uneasily coexist with humans who have never met anyone from the outside. A revolution is about to happen, and Prue and Curtis quickly find themselves on opposite sides.

One Is a Feast for a Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale

By Judy Cox

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The Thanksgiving feast is over. Leftover turkey and pumpkin pie litter the table. Mouse peeps out of his hidey-hole and spots a small green pea. the perfect feast for one mouse. Yes, one green pea, one red cranberry, one plate of mashed potatoes, and one roasted turkey, that should make a very fine feast for Mouse. But can he get it all back to his hidey-hole?

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Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson

Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson

“New folks coming!”

That’s the important news that the young rabbit, Little Georgie, has to share with all of his neighbors, from the stately deer to the excitable field mouse on Rabbit Hill. Will they be good providers or “slatternly” like the last batch? Most everyone hopes for a garden, but Phewie, the skunk, is hoping for some quality “garbidge.”  All of the residents of Robert Lawson’s Rabbit Hill have an opinion and a hope about what will come.

So many things could go wrong if the new folks that come aren’t nice. There might be vicious dogs. They might bring traps. They might even cut down and plow up the thicket where the burrow lies. Mother Rabbit is beside herself with worry, but Little Georgie and the rest are mostly just excited.

Gun, with Occasional Music

By Jonathan Lethem

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Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems-not the least of which are the rabbit in his waiting room and the trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is an ominous place where evolved animals function as members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage. In this brave new world, Metcalf has been shadowing the wife of an affluent doctor, perhaps falling a little in love with her at the same time. But when the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in the crossfire in a futuristic world that is both funny-and not so funny.

Also available on audio.

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