Ever since Doctor Dolittle mused “If we could talk to the animals…” and Charlotte spun SOME PIG, the idea of communicating with animals has been avidly embraced by young readers. ( If only I could know what they were thinking...) Along with desire to talk with and listen to our pets and wildlife is the wish to help them. Grownups might not listen to children, but animals certainly will. The popularity of this theme is evidenced by the fact that 2 recent Newbery Award winners : The One and Only Ivan and Flora& Ulysses, highlight animals with the ability to communicate as protagonists. For the animal-loving day dreamer, the following books provide exciting, fantastic adventures within the animal kingdom.
Charlie is half African and can talk with cat family, much like his father, the Brother of Lions. Set in the near future, he sets out from London to seek his kidnapped scientist parents and finds himself on a Paris-bound circus ship learning to train lions. He and the lions join forces as Charlie learns of and attempts to thwart plans by evil pharmaceutical companies intent on making money by increasing an asthma epidemic through genetically altering felines. The story spins out for 3 books as the plot broadens. Fast paced and lots of action. Good for those who have always wanted to be the lion tamer at the circus.
|Animal Healer Series|
Is actually set in Africa, as orphaned Martine goes to live on a South African game preserve. She discovers a mystical ability to commune with and heal wild animals. She also helps save the game preserve itself from unfriendly intruders.
|Mr. & Mrs. Bunny|
As in Lionboy, we start off with a pair of kidnapped parents. But here the similarity ends. In this humorous satiric mystery, Mr. & Mrs. Bunny discover a human child can understand them so they attempt to help her find her parents and save the rabbit population from yet another fiendish villain. More of a peek into a coexisting animal world, Mr. & Mrs. Bunny have further adventures as Lord & Lady Bunny.
|Down the Mysterly River|
Max "the Wolf" is a top-notch Boy Scout, an expert at orienteering, and a master of being prepared. So it is a little odd that he suddenly finds himself, with no recollection of his immediate past, lost in an unfamiliar wood. Even odder still, he encounters a badger, a black bear, and an old barn cat, all of whom talk, and who are as clueless as Max. Before long, Max and his woodland comrades are on the run from a relentless group of hunters and their deadly hounds. Traditional folklore elements and a rather surprisingly sophisticated twist at the end will either leave readers chuckling or disappointed (and no, it was not all a dream).
|Doctor Dolittle series|
Beginning with The Story of Doctor Dolittle, these gentle adventures of the human doctor who learned the language of animals and became an animal doctor are classics enjoyed by all ages and make good family read-alouds. Doctor Dolittle is beloved by sick animals and healthy readers all over the world.
|Daisy Dawson Is On Her Way|
Daydreaming Daisy gets kissed by a butterfly one morning and discovers she and all her animal friends can understand each other. Humorous misunderstandings and adventures follow. With help, Daisy rescues her beloved basset hound from a mean dogcatcher. Daisy is delightful in this and other easy chapter books.
of Liberty Aimes
Ten-year-old Libby escapes her prison-like home by using a strange concoction of her father's, then tries to make her way to the boarding school of her dreams, aided by various people and animals. After using some Comprehension Cream, created by her Mad Scientist father, Libby finds she can understand the animal test subjects in his lab. (Evidently they have also used the Cream, as they can understand her, too.) Telepathy with animals is just one of several paranormal abilities she acquires as she frees herself, turns her evil father over to the police and helps her mother out of her appetite enchantment.
|Falcon in the Glass|
Set in Renaissance Venice, this is the story of Renzo, an apprentice glassblower who takes in a group of children with wild bird companions. Told from his perspective it keeps the reader somewhat mystified as to why the children and birds keep such close communion.
Zane discovers that a nefarious vet is attempting to control animal behavior for his own gains, subjecting them to inhumane treatment. Technology comes into play, as computer chips, wiring and monitoring play a large part in Zane’s ability to communicate with his dog and other animals. The boy attempts to disconnect both himself and the animal subjects from constant electronic surveillance and experimentation, all the while maintaining a down-to-earth, boy and his dog relationship. Filled with middle school humor and savvy, Zane’s adventures should especially appeal to boys.