Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, where I’ve skipped a few weeks because I either got super busy, let my pre-scheduled posts catch up to the present, or got overwhelmed by actually having to go into an office for the first time in over a year, and so time has kind of gotten away from me.
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s theme is Animals from Books. I don’t know about you, but books about animals/that heavily feature animals are usually a hit or miss for me, because a lot of the time that animal dies (I’m still not over Where the Red Fern Grows, and I read that almost fifteen years ago!) or something happens and the person has to give the animal away. But I decided it was time to dig deep into my GoodReads list and see what animals I’ve got that survive the books.
1 – Koko and Yum Yum from The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun
This is a book series that got me started on cozy mysteries, even though this is literally the only cozy mystery series that I’ve ever read. Jim Qwilleran, reporter and bane of typesetters everywhere, inherits Koko from a murdered art critic and Yum Yum from a murdered antiques dealer, and together the cats help him solve mysteries as he moves across the country, learning about new things at every single location. I loved the series, but you can tell the final few books were only published because the publisher wanted the author to make the money, and that Braun’s mind was slipping. There were giant, glaring inconsistencies from earlier books and I don’t really read any of the later books when I’m re-reading the series.
2 – Spitfyre from The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
Haven’t you always wanted a dragon? Even though Spitfyre is a young dragon and Septimus goes through a lot of growing pains trying to figure out how to keep him happy (he likes to eat boots, in particular), the two have an unbreakable bond by the end of the series (I assume – because I actually haven’t read the final book. Stay tuned for my Magyk–themed read-a-thon in May!).
3 – S.T. from Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
I actually just finished reading this book a few weeks ago (the review is scheduled out to, like, July, so it’s gonna be a while before you see it), but I really enjoyed the animal interactions in this book! I mean, it does have to do with the zombie apocalypse, so there is some animal death, but for the most part, the comedy outweighs the sorrow. I’ve already pre-ordered the second book in the series so I’m interested in seeing where Buxton goes with this!
4 – Boy and Girl from West With Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge
I got this as a Kindle First book back at the beginning of the year and it was absolutely incredible. While the ending isn’t what I wanted to see (don’t worry – the giraffes are fine!), I still really enjoyed this book and ended up giving it a 4.5 star rating, rounded up to a 5 on GoodReads (because it honestly deserves it), and I think it’s a book that everyone needs to read.
5 – The hell-hound from My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
I’ve tried to read other Fredrik Backman books, but while his writing style works really well for the narrator in this book (who I think is like, eight years old), it doesn’t work in the other ones I’ve picked up, like A Man Called Ove (is that the right name?). I greatly enjoyed the companionship between the main character in this book and the “hell-hound” that she finds in the basement of her apartment complex, and how she navigates her grandmother’s death and the nosy/terrible neighbors that live in the apartment with her.
6 – The Guardians of Ga’Hoole by Kathryn Lasky
This is the book series that my sister loved when we were growing up, and she bought all of them and read them time and time again. Now that I’m older and I’ve read Redwall, I can see a ton of Redwall influence in Lasky’s world, even though her books deal solely with owls. I would love to say that the series starts off rather innocently, but it absolutely doesn’t – the very first book deals with the main characters escaping a cult and trying to find safety, and the whole thing basically ends up with a war among the owl species and a lot of death and murder throughout. Just writing this entry makes me want to go back and re-read the series to see how it holds up now that I’m 15 years older.
7 – The Warriors series (but only the first two series) by Erin Hunter
I loved the original Warriors series, and I loved The New Prophecy, but Power of Three is where it lost me (maybe because it moved away from Firestar, who I loved so much, and Thunderclan). I also had Power of Three spoiled for me, so I don’t know if I’ll ever actually finish reading it (I have all six books but only read four of them). I absolutely loved cats when I was younger (and I still love them now!), and I really don’t know why I read these books when they are so terribly sad. There are wars and battles, cats die via murder and other terrible causes, and the whole thing is just depressing. I can’t figure out why I loved these books so much, but I always wanted to be able to change between a cat and a human and go and visit the cat clans and tell them all about humans and what’s going on. I’ve still got all the books on my shelf at my parent’s house, and I don’t know if I’ll ever actually read them again, but I still don’t know if I can give them up because I spent so much of my childhood reading them.
8 – The Redwall series by Brian Jacques
I didn’t get into Redwall until I was an adult, but in a way, I’m glad that I read it as an adult instead of as a kid, because I think if I’d read more than just Mattimeo as a kid (which I didn’t understand anyway), I would have never picked up the books again. As it is, I remembered Mattimeo vaguely and decided I wanted to give the books a second chance, and now I own every one of them. While some are tragic (and I don’t know why they’re marketed towards young kids!), the majority of them show the animals overcoming some sort of obstacle in their path and there is usually a happy ending (even if everyone doesn’t always make it to that happy ending…).
9 – Tock from The Phantom Tollbooth
I’m not going to put the Humbug on here, because I don’t think he’s technically an animal, but the lovable Tock certainly is! Who wouldn’t want an actual watchdog keeping them on track? If I had Tock around, I think I’d be able to get to work on time (the commute has changed drastically from twelve steps to six miles!). Also, he’s super honest and loyal, and you always need someone like that in your corner, no matter what your life looks like at this moment.
10 – A shout-out to all the horses from the fantasy novels I’ve read
Lord of the Rings, The Wheel of Time, and so many others all feature horses that do the majority of the transportation of the main character, but they often don’t have the proper amount of attention paid to them. I mean, I’m not a super huge fan of horses in real life, but I can appreciate them for being a great vehicle in the fantasy worlds that I read about.
What about you? Who are your favorite animals from books, or books themed around animals? Let me know in the comments!
And as always, keep reading.