Talking Animals in Children’s Literature

CLICK HERE FOR EVENT FLYER  & Presentation References Join us for this year’s  celebration of children’s books as we explore talking animals in children’s literature.  During this year’s program, the following topics will be examined:

  • The Prevalence of Talking Animals in Children’s Books
  • Animal Attraction: Why do Children Love Animal Characters?
  • Talking Animals & the role they Serve in Children’s Books
  • George Shannon’s Typology of Talking Animals
  • The Historical Evolution of Talking Animals
    • Folklore & Anthropomorphism
    • Talking Animals & the Enlightenment
    • 19th Century Childhoods & the Debate on “Animaltainment:” Wild vs. Domestic Animals
    • Roaring Animals & Imperialism
    • Kindness towards Animals & Animal Rights
  • Animal Stereotypes in Children’s Literature: Heroes, Villains, & Victims
  • Meet this Year’s New Cast of Talking Animal Stars!
    • Book Readings and Talks on the Latest & the Greatest in Children’s Books  Special Viewing of The Lion & The Mouse,  version of an Aesop’s Fable by Jerry Pinkney.  2010 Caldecott Medal Winner. Produced by Weston Woods Studio. 
  •   For questions or more information, please contact: Laurie Charnigo, (256) 782-5245,  Education Librarian, Houston Cole
  •  Library         


Meanwhile, thanks to Google Books & their partnership with institutions such as Harvard University, we have access to many nineteenth-century children’s books with talking animal characters. Most of the following books below have been completely digitized in fulltext. Enjoy!

Daisy, the Autobiography of a Cat by  Miranda Eliot Swan (1900)

Reynard the Fox, an Early Apologue of Renown, Clad in English Dress/ John Storer Cobb, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Canton’s Illustrations) The “adult” Reynard. (1899)

Goody Two Shoes; or the History of Little Margery Meanwell: in Rhyme by  By Oliver Goldsmith, John Newbery (1825)

Fabulous Histories: The Histories of the Robbins by Sarah Trimmer (1848)

Evenings at Home or The Juvenile Budget by By John Aikin, Mrs. Barbauld (1799)

The Rational Brutes, or, Talking Animals by  Dorothy Kilner (1803)

The Life and Perambulations of a Mouse by Dorothy Kilner (2004- preview of reprinting)

The Confessions of a Lost Dog by Frances Power Cobb (1867)

The Adventures of a Donkey by Arabella Argus (pseud.) (1823)

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne (Preview) (2009, from original 1928)

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1915) 

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (1912)

The Two Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling (1895)

Tuppy or Autobiography of a Donkey (1861) by E. Burrows (?)

The Peacock at Home by Catherine Ann Dorset (1851)

The Adventures of Poor Puss by Elizabeth Sandham (1809)

The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant (a preview) by Jean de Brunhoff (originally published 1933)

The Dog Crusoe and His Master: A Story of Adventure in the Western Prairies by Robert Michael Ballantyne (1894?)

The Baby’s Own Aesop by Walter Crane (1887)


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