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Saturday, April 25, 2009

3 Classic Reads for Animal Lovers

I find myself coming back again and again to read classic books, books I read many years ago. Below are three books I highly recommend for the animal-lover in you, or the animal-lover in your life.

#1 - My Family and Other Animals
Reading Gerald Durrell's classic book as a teen had me longing for a life far from school with the freedom to explore island nature. Gerald's family are hilarious eccentrics who leave a dreary life in England to escape to Corfu. The descriptions of all the characters in this book and the events brought on by the animals in Gerald's little zoo never fail to make me smile. I'm pretty fond of The Maggenpies, the puppies called Widdle and Puke, and the mother scorpion who one day escapes onto the lunch table to cause mayhem amongst family and dinner guests. It's a great read for anyone with a love of animals and a taste for human eccentricities.
Find My Family and Other Animals at

#2 - All Creatures Great and Small
James Herriot was a young, unsuspecting and inexperienced vet who arrived one day in Yorkshire, England ready to be interviewed for his first position, only to discover that his eccentric future-boss Siegfried wasn't even at home. Despite the hardships of being a farm vet in the Yorkshire Dales, James finds that there are many compensations, including the wonderful people and the fresh open aired countryside. As in the previous book, you really feel like you are visiting the author's place and seeing things through his eyes. Look out though, the Yorkshire Dales might capture your heart, like they did mine!
Find All Creatures Great and Small at

#3 - Your Recommendation
Try as I might, I couldn't think of just one more book to recommend. I have memories of many more wonderful reads, but the above two are the only animal books which have remained in my book collection for several decades. I'm always open to discover a new favorite book. What is your favorite nature or animal read? Which book do you come back to?

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Ruralmama said...

My favorites are "The Little Lamb", "The Little Duck", and "The Little Rabbit" which were all a part of The Best Book Club Ever. My children have the set I grew up with and they are like mashed potatoes and gravy on a cold winter day. They all use photographs instead of illustrations and simple storytelling.
The first page of these books starts with "I belong to The Best Book Club Ever. This is my book. My name is ________. Will you please read it to me?". Classic.

Alison Kerr said...

Mmmm, mashed potatoes and gravy, now I feel left out that I wasn't part of The Best Book Club Ever! Thanks for sharing Ruralmama.

jugglingpaynes said...

We love All Creatures Great and Small! We've listened to it on CD.

Are you looking at non-fiction only?
Our falconer friend loves to talk about how My Side of the Mountain changed his life. Jean Craighead George writes wonderful books for animal lovers.

Alison Kerr said...

Now I'm wondering whether the CD version you listened to had Scottish and English accents.

I'm happy to hear of fiction titles too. In fact my son recently enjoyed reading My Side of the Mountain. It had been on our bookshelf for about 4 years. One day he read about it somewhere online from someone who took up falconry, like your friend, and he decided to read it. For a teen it was a pretty fast read. He enjoyed it.

Julie said...

We are listening to My Family as an audiobook at the moment - it is delightful!
James Herriot wrote some animal stories for children that are lovely - we have Treasury for Children.
The only other 'animal' book I can think of that we loved is Olga Da Polga by Michael Bond but I am not sure that counts!

Alison Kerr said...

Hey Julie, thanks for chiming in with support for My Family and Other Animals :-)

Now that you mention it, I do remember that James Herriot wrote some kids books, though I've never read any of them.

I've never heard of Olga Da Polga. Now I'm curious about that one!

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