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Friday, June 14, 2013

Kids Love Animal Stories!

My ferret, Cece

I’ve decided to put a ferret in my latest novel. Why? Because over the years we’ve been owned by four ferrets. You’ll note that I say WE WERE OWNED. This is true. You don’t own a ferret. They are in charge. They are the most charming, destructive, curious, destructive, delightful, destructive, pets ever.

You’ll notice the repetition of a word in that last paragraph. Destructive. Ferrets are amazingly destructive for being less than two pounds. After the last one passed we were able to have every (EVERY) screen in the house repaired. There wasn’t one screen than wasn’t clawed through. We were able to keep inserts in our shoes. I now am able to have TWO earrings.

Yes. Shoe inserts. Why? I don’t know.
Earrings. Why? I don’t know.

Ferrets don’t wear earrings. Nor, do they wear shoes.

But that was a small price to pay for little critters that made us laugh until we cried. They had more personality than some people I’ve encountered. They are thieves. They are clowns. They are incorrigible. They make terrible pets because they are so curious they get into dreadful trouble. I won’t tell you how much we spent on emergency surgeries or emergency visits to the vets. They are escape artists of the most amazing sorts.

They make wonderful pets. They make terrible pets.

See why I want one in my novel?

Kids love animal stories. Going all the way back to the “Just So Stories” or even further back to Aesop’s Fables, animals have been used to help children understand the world around them.

There are stories that are purely animal, like the Brian Jacques books. There are some that blend human and animal, like “Charlotte’s Web.” Sniff, that still makes me tear up. There are books that involve animals like Walter Farley’s horse books (The Black Stallion) or Marguerite Henry’s Horse stories (Misty of Chincoteague).

Are you thinking about writing an animal story?
Here are some good ones to read, these are classics:
The Wind in the Willows
Stuart Little
The Trumpet of the Swan
One Hundred and One Dalmatians
Dr. Doolittle
The Black Stallion Series

Here are some more modern ones
Wooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
Bear Snores on by Karma Wilson
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O’Brien

This one may be hard to find, but it is so worth the read:

Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Kids love animal stories. I’m sure you can probably think of a bunch that I haven’t mentioned.

Just remember, stay true to the animal.

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea ferrets were so destructive and such accomplished escape artists! But having experienced other destructive yet charming pets (including a Bassett Hound who loved my embroidery hoops and my husband's vintage album collection!), I can relate! A very good selection of titles! One of my favorite animal stories growing up was Socks by Beverly Cleary.