Since the theme this month is pets, I’ve looked back at some books that are about pets and working animals.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (30 March 1820- 25 April 1878)
As a teenager, Anna Sewell fell and damaged both her ankles. She never fully recovered, and always had difficulty walking. In Black Beauty, her only novel, the title character ‘breaks his knees’ after a fall, perhaps mirroring Anna’s own suffering.
Black Beauty, which raised awareness of the treatment of horses during the 19th century, has been called ‘the most influential anticruelty novel of all time’. Anna died only a few months after its publication.
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford (11 May 1918--20 April 1984)
I guess most of us know this story of three pets—a bull terrier, Labrador retriever and Siamese cat—who travel 300 miles through Canada searching for their owners. Who doesn’t love a story of endurance, companionship and battling the odds?
In 1963 the book won two awards: the ALA Aurianne Award and the Book of the Year for Children Award. Two movies have been made thirty years apart. The first in 1963, the second in 1993 as Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.
All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (3 October 1916--23 February 1995)
Born James Alfred Wight, Herriot chose his pen name after seeing Scottish goal keeper Jim Herriot play soccer. James, a vet by trade, had always been interested in writing. At the age of 50, prompted by his wife, he began putting pen to paper. His books about life as a British country vet were made into movies and a much-loved TV series starring Christopher Timothy.
In 1979 James received an OBE.
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog by John Grogan (20 March 1957-- )
John Grogan began his writing career as a police reporter for the Herald-Palladium in the town of St Joseph. During this time, he rode with police and photographed murder victims. But he didn’t find his true calling until he took a job as columnist with The Palm Beach Post. Later he worked as columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Marley and Me spent 76 weeks on the bestseller list, 23 of them at number 1.
It was filmed in 2008. John and his wife were extras in one scene. Although he doesn’t reveal which scene, there are hints in his bio. Watch the movie and see if you can spot him and his wife.
I've only touched the surface of books about animals, and there are many more. So over to you. What is your favorite animal movie or book?
A post about pets wouldn't be complete without a pic of my family's dog. Here he is enjoying the sun and surveying his domain.
Janni Nell writes mysteries. Her new paranormal cozy Secrets, Spells & Murder is coming in fall 2017.