Friday, April 15, 2011

My favourite talking animals in books

I recently saw mention of favourite talking animals at Sya's blog The Mountains of Instead (one of my favouritest blogs) and I thought it would make for an interesting post in itself. So, here we have it, my favourite talking animals in literature... Initially I could only think of one or two (mostly the animals that Sya herself had mentioned, which distracted me) but once I really sat down and thought about it, there have been so many funny, adorable and loveable talking animals in many books that I've read either recently or from my childhood.

In no particular order...

Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh books by AA Milne -

Oh, Eeyore has always been my favourite! I have a very large collection of my own Eeyores because I love him so much. And despite my collection of Eeyores being based on the more Disney version of this loveable depressed donkey, I wanted to keep the original artwork from the books, which is what I grew up with.

Eeyore is so miserable that I can't help but find him absolutely adorable. You could choose any of the characters from Winnie the Pooh on a list of talking animals, I suppose, but I don't see how anyone could love Piglet or Tigger more than Eeyore.

Mogget from The Old Kingdom trilogy by Garth Nix -

I couldn't make this list without including Moggett from these Garth Nix books. I love Mogget. He's bitter and cynical and I love how he pretends to sleep so much but also plays such a pivotal role.

Bound to Abhorsens for not siding with either team during a big show-down, he's restrained with a magical collar which keeps him in a grumpy mood. I kind of want a Mogget of my own.

Charlotte from Charlotte's Web by EB White -

Not the best picture of our Charlotte, but I have a fondness of Wilbur too, so I'm keeping it. Charlotte's Web by EB White is my all-time favourite book as a child. I carried a copy around with me every where I went and I read the book again and again until the cover nearly fell off.

I thought Charlotte to be utterly wise and so very clever in the way in which she saved Wilbur. I used to love saying 'Salutations' instead of saying hello when I was little and sometimes it still pops into my head that I should say it instead of 'hello'.

At the end of Charlotte's Web, when Charlotte gets tired and then ... *weeps* I was unconsolable. I still am. And then I nearly lost it again when most of Charlotte's babies fly away. I always dreamed there would be sequel where we learned all the adventures that Wilbur and Charlotte's children got up to.

Honourable mention goes to Templeton the rat. Who really didn't want or need to get involved, but did anyway. My hero.

Taggle from Wood Angel by Erin Bow -

This is my most recent favourite talking animal that I've found in a book. I hope that it isn't too spoilerish of me to tell you that he speaks. He doesn't at the beginning of Wood Angel, until Plain Kate's secret inner-wish is granted and Taggle becomes a talking cat. And when I think of what a talking cat would say or do, it is actually what Taggle says and Taggle does.

He really burrowed his way into my heart with his cat-like ways and his 'you may scratch my neck now' I'm not a cat person, but Taggle is the cat that would change my mind, I'm sure of it.

Grimalkin from The Iron King by Julie Kagawa -

Here's another sort-of recent favourite. Grimalkin from The Iron King reminds me a bit of Mogget from the Garth Nix books. I do love Grimalkin though. He's sarcastic and a little bit arrogant. He really looks out for himself and knows a great deal. He'll help out, of course, but only in exchange for a favor...

I can't help but want to cuddle him forever, even though I'd imagine he'd hate that.

Angharrad from The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness -

I really adore Patrick Ness and this amazing trilogy. The first book, The Knife of Never Letting Go introduces us first to Manchee, Todd's absolutely brilliant (and funny!) talking dog/best friend. What happens to Mancee really forces Todd to be a little more loyal to Angharrad, his horse.

I absolutely love the loyalty that we can hear in Angharrad's noise, calling Todd 'Boy colt' - I really had tears in my eyes during Monsters of Men, when Angharrad wouldn't move and Todd wouldn't leave despite being in danger. I really love those two together.

Iorek Byrnison from His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman -

I really love Philip Pullman. I love his stories and the worlds that he creates. His characters are some of my absolute favourites. And Iorek Byrnison might be at the very top of that list. I knew, when I sat down to write this post, I had to include Iorek Byrnsion. I really loved his story. Being exiled from the bears, tricked into losing his armour by drinking spirits by humans.

I love his sense of honour and that he stayed to finish his working hours before attacking the humans who treated him so badly. He's strong and loyal and I especially loved his relationship with both Lyra and Lee Scoresby. (Lee Scoresby and his Hester being huge favourites of mine!)

Maurice from Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett -

Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents was one of the first books by Terry Pratchett that I'd ever read. I was quickly swept into his fantastic characters, the bizarre but entertaining storyline and the really wonderful characters.

I really could have picked any of the rodents in his gang to be on this list, but I liked Maurice, the cat, the best. You can tell how conflicted he is. Whereas the rodents were all able to talk and think by eating magical waste in the bins behind the University, Maurice has come to these newfound discoveries by eating one of the rodents. He feels really guilty about this throughout and I loved witnessing that struggle.

Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson -

I really grew up reading the comic strip of Calvin and Hobbes. I will always have a soft spot for this pair! I loved the obvious friendship between the two. I love Hobbes' pride in being a tiger and how he loves to show off.

Growing up I really wanted a Hobbes to run around with, to argue with and to have him pounce on me!

Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum -

OK, this one's probably cheating because even though I have read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, I'm really referring to the Cowardly Lion from the film version. Which I'm just so much more familiar with.

I think Scarecrow will always be my favourite, but I still really love the Cowardly Lion too. I think he looks lovely with his curls and his little bow. And his goofy voice. :)

I know I'm missing really obvious choices, like animals from The Chronicles of Narnia and the bunnies in Watership Down etc, but only because Narnia is not my favourite and I have yet to read Watership Down! *hides*

Which are your favourite talking animals in literature?


  1. I love Grimalkin, too. He's awesome. And you're right, none of the other characters from Winnie the Pooh could possibly beat Eeyore.

  2. I love Mogget! I've only read the first in the Abhorsen trilogy (I've refrained from borrowing from the library because I actually want to own them :P) but I loved him in Sabriel! And Grimalkin is one of my favourites too. Eeyore was my second favourite, after Pooh, but I do love him, and I hadn't thought about Iorek from His Dark Materials but I see why you picked him! I love that series (last book made me cry). Great post, thanks for sharing :)

  3. Manchee from The Knife Of Never Letting Go is my favourite. I cried so much when he died. I loved Charlotte too from Charlotte's Web. Another book that made me cry!

  4. I love this list! There really are so many wonderful animals in books, Charlotte, Eeyore, Iorek, great choices!

  5. NOTHING can beat Eeyore. NOTHING. Eeyore is EPIC.

  6. fab post - i agree the bears in northern lights were awesome

  7. I agree with all of your choices where I've read the books in question. Eeyore particularly -- Eeyore has always been my favorite Winnie-the-Pooh character. And yeah, the original illustrations are best.

  8. Emma - He is a wonderful little cat, isn't he? :)

    Sophie - How could anyone even think anything different?! Cannot comprehend.

    Liz - I'm completely ignoring your 'Eeyore is my 2nd favourite' comment because .... But hurrah for agreeing on lots others :)

    Vivienne - I wanted to include Manchee, but there was no way I could talk about him without mentioning how much it killed me when he died, and I thought that'd be spoilerish for some people!!

    Avid Reader - THank you! There really are so many.

    Cliona - We are in total agreement.

    Mariel - Hurrah for Hobbes!

    Kirsty - They are very cool!

    Jenny - *high fives*

  9. I love Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice. It's just been made into a musical for Primary school children (published in August I think). Imagine getting to play the part of Maurice or Dangerous Beans!


HI! Thank you for leaving a comment, you've just become my new best friend :)