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Animal Friends In Children's Literature

Throughout children's books we meet wonderful animal companions. Some are as domestic as dogs and cats, others as wild as bears and lions. All of them enrich the lives of children and their families. Here are excerpts from well-known children's books that feature animals. Can you name the books?

1. "Alec heard the ship's whistle give three short blasts. The last horse came into the hold, shying nervously as he passed the Black's stall...."

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2. "Instinct told them the way home lay to the west. And so the doughty young Labrador Retriever, the roguish bull terrier and the indomitable Siamese set out through the Canadian wilderness."

3. "It was in May, 1918, that a new friend and companion came into my life: a character, a personality, and a ring-tailed wonder. He weighed less than one pound when I discovered him, a furry ball of utter dependence and awakening curiosity, unweaned and defenseless. Wowser and I were immediately protective. We would have fought any boy or dog in town who sought to harm him."

4. "Ben stretched out in the shade of a bush and rested his massive head on extended forepaws. Mark sat down cross-legged beside him, idly scratching his ears as he stared dreamily off to sea."

5. "Frantically she lifted her head to bark in frustrated anger, and then, tentatively, she reared and stood on her hind legs against the wire, looking up.... She leaped, and fell back again. The fence was six feet high, much too high for a collie to leap."

6. "[T]he nurse was a prim Newfoundland dog ... the Darlings had become acquainted with her in Kensington Gardens, where she spent most of her spare time peeping into perambulators.... "

7. "The spots ... begin to come through after two weeks. By the time [her] family were six weeks old it was obvious that they were going to be beautifully marked and very valuable...."

8. "After supper I made a bough bed and stretched out with Frightful beside me. Apparently, the more you stroke and handle a falcon, the easier they are to train."

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9. "Henry looked at his wet dog shivering in the wind. 'Here, R., get under my raincoat.' He made a place for R., who managed to turn around three times before he curled up on the narrow seat and went to sleep."

10. "So it happened that every time the very old man looked up, he saw another cat which was so pretty he could not bear to leave it, and before he knew it, he had chosen them all."

11. "[She] seemed to sense the importance of this moment. She backed away from the group, her head uplifted, not toward the sea and the island of Assateague, but inland, toward the well-pounded trails of Chincoteague."

12. "For the next six days Elsa shared our camp routine and our morning and evening walks. One day we watched her stalk a waterbuck while he was drinking on the other side of the river.... When she returned she rubbed her head against us...."


1. "The Black Stallion," by Walter Farley (1941); 2. "The Incredible Journey," by Sheila Burnford (1961); 3. "Rascal," by Sterling North (1963); 4. "Gentle Ben," by Walter Morey (1965); 5. "Lassie Come Home," by Eric Knight (1940); 6. "Peter Pan," by J.M. Barrie (1911); 7. "101 Dalmatians," by Dodie Smith (1956); 8. "My Side of the Mountain," by Jean George (1959); 9. "Henry and Ribsy," by Beverly Cleary (1954); 10. "Millions of Cats," by Wanda Gag (1928); 11. "Misty of Chincoteague," by Marguerite Henry (1947); 12. "Born Free," by Joy Adamson (1960).

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