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Manor Lakes Specialist College: 7. Is the Animal Story a Dead Duck?

Thursday, September 16, 2010 , Posted by Sandy Fussell at 8:38 PM

Word around the publishing industry is that animal stories don’t sell. My author friends advise me not to waste my time writing them – they are too hard to get published.

But as a reader, I love animal stories - stories in which animals are the main characters. Animals are given human characteristics such as speech and any humans are the minor characters.

Two of my favourite series of books are about wolves (The Wolves of Time by William Horwood) and moles (Duncton Wood also by William Horwood). My all-time favourite book is about a mouse, The Tale of Despereaux. Apparently the movie was awful but the book is great. I also enjoyed the Redwall series (more mice), Watership Down (rabbits), Guardians of Ga’Hoole (owls) and Warriors (cats).

Does anyone else have any animal stories to add to my list? Do you like animal stories and if not, why? Some readers say it is a ridiculous idea to have talking animals. Or that such stories are only for little kids. But to me it is no different than having a story with dragons and those are my most favourite stories of all. Although none of those has the dragon as the talking character. Perhaps I should write one of those!

And if ever proof was needed that animal stories are not just for little kids, we only have to look at Animal Farm by George Orwell. Wrapped up in an animal story, this book is a social and political comment on corrupt leadership and how indifference, ignorance and greed can destroy a Utopian revolution. Time Magazine listed it as one of the 100 best English-language novels ever written.

When I was researching this post I discovered a computer animated film of Guardians of Ga’Hoole is coming out on 30th September! It was produced in Australia and features the voices of a number of Australian actors and actresses.

Here is a sneak preview. (to be added when YouTube available)

Currently have 6 comments:

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Sandy! Hi everyone! This is Tegan here, all the way in Canada! I hope you guys got my other message on the other post thing-a-ma-gig! Now lets see, animal books I like, gee this is a hard one. Well some of the animal books I loved were...Marley and Me, A dog's purpose, Alex and me, Cleo, Wesley, Promise of the wolves, The shadow dog, Madoc (you guys HAVE to read this book. I think most of the time I was crying through the whole thing since it is very sad, BUT really good!)I'm trying to search through my mind for all the other books I've read, but its kinda hard when your trying to remember your whole bookshelf all the way back in Australia. I liked Tale of Despereaux, and I read it about 3 times! The movie is cute, but it is very different from the book. Also I read this book called Dragon Home, which was a book about a girl and her brother and the girl could speak to animals. I'm not sure if it counted as an animal book, but their were a lot of animals in it. This is a MUST READ for everyone who hasn't read it, since it is one of the most awesomest books I have ever read. I've read it about 5 or 6 times, and I started reading this 500 paged book in grade 4. There was another book by Enid Blyton, but I forgot. Also Ginger Pye was a good book, I found it in a second hand book shop for 50cents. I also read Brut or something like that. That was a book about a bull terrier, and I also read the silver donkey, where a soilder told stories about donkeys, THAT WAS A GOOD BOOK! I can't really think of anything else. Its 5:46pm now. Tanaya, I am sooooooo jealous that your reading Grimsdon or however you spell it! We saw some loons, and I think I'm going to a dog park tommorrow! Hope everyone is ok, and I sent you a postcard Tanaya! Alright, Bye Everyone!
    P.S How was Andy Griffiths? Tanaya, did he sign the books? Also, Ihope you remembered to film DMD, cause I really want to see how you guys went!
    P.P.S Sandy, I think its alright if you answer back, cause I can see if I can get hold of a computer!

  1. Anonymous says:

    P.P.P.S Sandy, I think that you should write an animal book, since I absolutely love them, and if you published an animal book, I would buy it! I think the only reason that animal books aren't as popular is because the silly book stores put them at a higher price then some other books! I bought five animal books at Collins, and it cost me more then $100! If you were to publish an animal book, try and put a really fancy or exciting cover on it, sice thats what grabs a readers attention!
    P.P.P.P.S Maybe some of you would be interested in the book, The lost island of Tamarind. I bought it one day, and I read a few pages, and I was a bit upset because I thought it was gonign to be a waste of money, but then it got REALLY GOOD! RE-READ!Oh, I found some more animal books I liked...Green grass of Whyoming (old book) Dog heros, Raised by wolves (probably, sort-a) Thunder head (the book before green grass of Whyoming),True tales of animal heros, Flicka (the book before Thunderhead!) The Dragons (by Colin Thompson, HILARIOUS!!!!) Singenpoo, WyrmeWeald (it was...good)

  1. Anonymous says:

    And Dragon Dawn, Dragon Kepper, and the other two books in the series. VERY GOOD BOOKS!
    And there is also...another dragon book but I forgot. It is blue with a silver dragon on the front, riding through stars with two unusal looking people on its back. Tye, you have it in the libary. AWESOME BOOK!
    Bye guys!

  1. Anonymous says:

    I would love it isf you guys replied back! Sorry if I'm writing too much, just that I have a lot of time!

  1. Wow TEGAN.

    You are the Queen of Book Recommendations! And seeing as you and I have such similar taste, and both love a good animal story, I know there will be lots of good books in your suggestions. I'm going to start hunting them down with a few library trips in the school holidays.

    Sounds like your Canada holiday is awesome. I went to Canada years ago and Polar Boy is set on Baffin Island which is part of Canada (even though I didn't go there).

    I think loon is a great word. It makes me think 'comedy' although of course being a duck is very seriosu business for ducks!!! Strange how some words just sound funny and silly even though there meaning is not.

    I'll check with Tye about the dragon book - as they are my most favourite books. What really impresses me about your reading list is you read all over the place - across genres and even age groups. That's one of the signs of a writer and having seen your work, that's definitely you!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Miss Tegan!!! Boy do we miss you:) The book you are thinking of is Dragonrider by Cornelia Funke. I think. Im not in the library but I think its the one you are talking about?

    I am so glad to hear that Canada is going great and I hope you are having a wonderful time!!

    As for you (the lovely Sandy) I miss you almost as much as I miss Tegan!!!

    I have a very special signed book over here for a very special would you like me to send it?

    Enjoy your day guys.
    Tye xxx