Talking Animals in books for kids.
Thumbs up or thumbs down? It seems as though I’ve heard a lot of snobbery towards animals as main characters. But my youngest child loves several talking animal series: The Warriors by Erin Hunter (cats), Redwall by Brian Jacques (assortment of rodents) and The Guardians of Ga’Hoole by Kathryn Lasky (owls).
Pros for talking animal novels:
- Race and cultural issues are a non-point. The characters can very well have prejudices and opinions on other species, but no reader is alienated.
- It’s easier to put your characters in danger. Do you know how many really good cats die in the Warriors series?
- Parents can be a non-issue
- They feel a little bit like non-fiction. For fact-magnet boys like mine, they feel like they are really learning (about cats, rodents, owls, etc)
- Humor can be woven in on several levels. First level humor within the story but also the idea of this animal struggling with its specific animal limitations – or pure animal magnetism.
And if you have a clouded leopard baby with a party hat, what’s not to love? (Thanks SBB!)
Sarah Wones Tomp
WRITING ON THE SIDEWALK