Thursday, October 7, 2010

How do you like your animals in MG?

When I was growing up, if it had an animal in it, I would read it. No question. I dreamed of the racehorses in the Farley books, named my pet rabbit after Hazel-rah in Watership down, cheered for the rats in the Nimh books...I soon learned there were two types of animals in the stories I inhaled.

One type worked with humans, the other type was the human.

Let me esplain. Those that worked with humans were the loyal sidekicks. The animal the kid in the story aspired to save / ride / win over. They were animals, had animal feelings and we as the humans could only guess at their motives.

The other type were those that 'were' the humans in the books. Anthropomorphism, I do believe it's called. Where the animal made the city, saved the day and they had their feelings out there for all to see...they were the humans (except for that small 'has a tail and excessive body hair' bit).

An excellent example of these two types are actually blog books here, actually. *g* Hilary Wagner's NIGHTSHADE CITY features anthropomorphic rats at their best - and earthworms! - while my book, POSSUM SUMMER, is on the other end of the scale...with the heartbreaking yet (hopefully) uplifting storyline.

I've read them both, and others, and really? Some days I just want to be picked up and hurled into a world where the animals are the humans. Some days I want what was my reality for so long. Who hasn't looked at their cat, watching them from the window, and wondered what exactly that dastardly beast was planning?

And you? Which type of animal story fits you best?


  1. Oh I LOVE those anthropomorphic stories. Like to write them too. Think of Pooh (I know they are all stuffed animals but still), The Wind in the Willows, The Cat in the Hat, The Tale of Despereaux, Redwall...the list is long.

  2. I'll take either! Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was one of my favorites growing up (just thinking about it makes me want to read Hilary's book even more!), but I also adored Where the Red Fern Grows.

  3. I like the kind from the fairy tales. You know the goat or cow that you say a rhyme to and they give you a table loaded with gourmet food or a whole lot of gold coins shooting out of their ___.

  4. Great post. I too love these books. When my kids were younger we tore through the Brian Jacques series Redwall (which I kept thinking about reading your blog.)

    Again, great post and I like your new blog. STill thinking how we can work together (I am just distracted with a new job and trying to write).

    Come visit!
    All the best,
    Meryl Jaffe

  5. I gotta say, I love the talking animals, always have. Shocker, I know! There are so many animal fantasy novels I love. Mrs. Frisby was for sure one of the first. The Mouse and His Child always gets me too! Love that book!

    Great post, Jen!

    xoxo -- Hilary

  6. I so love Despereaux for his bravery and love of the princess . He is such a fun character.

  7. I love the anthropomorphic animals - too fun! (unless of course you're on Animal farm!) LOL. :-)

  8. Nice post! Now I am thinking about The Familiars.

  9. Oh my goodness - both! I was crazy about animals - and still am - in my stories.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!