Top Ten Tuesday: Best Literary Pets

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

November 17: Characters I’d Name a Pet After (These could be your own pets (present or future), you could pick 10 different animals and tell us the name and animal type, or you could choose 10 names that would make fun cat names, etc. Put your own spin on this one!) (submitted by Nushu @ Not A Prima Donna Girl)

I decided to put my own spin on this and make a list of my favorite literary pets.

1. Wilbur the Pig in Charlotte’s Web by EB White– Yes the story is “about” Charlotte and Wilber, but Wilber was a pretty good pet to Fern too! She saved him from being slaughtered after all!

2. Toto the dog in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum– I think of Toto as a sort of mascot for the Wizard of Oz actually. He’s also a constant real world friend that Dorothy has with her through all the craziness of Oz.

3. Flush the dog in Flush: A Biography by Virginia Woolf – This is an imagined biography of a real dog, who was pet to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. He’s delightful, but the book also gets in some commentary on city life at it’s best and worst, class differences, and female emancipation.

4. Hedwig the owl in the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling– Yes she’s haughty, but she’s loyal companion to Harry, and a reliable postal service.

5. Clifford the dog in Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell– I loved these books as a kid. Though I kind of felt bad for Emily Elizabeth: falling in love with a tiny red puppy only to have him grow up to be the size of a house!

6. Alfonso the horse in Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.– I was jealous of Pippi for having a pet horse at all, but one who lives in the house!? Luckiest. Girl. Ever. The pet monkey was pretty cool too.

7. Winn-Dixie the dog in Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo– This dog (a stray found at, and named after the supermarket) helps the main character make friends as a community sort of forms around her.

8-10. Luath and Bodger (dogs) and Tao (cat) in The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford- Is this cheating? Becuase I couldn’t really pick one from this book, I had to go for all three.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d Want As A Friend

For That Artsy Reader Girl’s Top Ten Tuesday:

ttt-new

I wasn’t feeling this week’s topic:

October 22: Books I’d Give Different Titles To (and tell us what title you’d pick!)

So I decided to go with a throwback to a different TTT that I missed:

August 13: Book Characters I’d Love to Be Besties With (submitted by Michelle @ Pink Polka Dot Blog)

31yhicomrpl-_ac_us218_1. Delysia Lafosse in Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day by Winifred Watson- I have a tendency to be a bit of a homebody, much like Miss Pettigrew in this novel. But I try to have at least one Delysia in my life, so that I don’t live for only one day.

 

 

51hmsqsiztl-_ac_us218_2. Pippi Longstocking from Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren- I always envied Tommy and Annika who live next door to Pippi. They’re normal kids until this crazy, unconventional, strong girl moves in along with her monkey and her horse. After that every day is an adventure. But unlike Pippi, Tommy and Annika can go on adventures during the day and then go home to their parents and be normal kids. So being friends with her is sort of the best of both worlds. I’d definitely need that sense of normality to balance things out.

51iosghk0l-_ac_us218_3. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling- She’s smart, loyal, and she’d be great to talk books with. Plus, if I ever need anyone to stick by my side when I fight evil, she’s good for that too.

 

 

 

515yocsadl-_ac_us218_4. Lord John Grey from the Outlander series and the Lord John series by Diana Gabaldon- If you’re his friend he’ll be loyal to the death, even if your circumstances frequently put you on different sides of conflict. If there’s a string that he can pull to help you, you can be sure he’ll do it, no questions asked.

 

 

51vxh2jgv8l-_ac_us218_5. Melanie Wilkes from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell- I wouldn’t want to be friends with Scarlett. She’s selfish about 99% of the time! But Melanie is loyal through and through. If you’re a friend, she’ll be a friend even if the rest of the crowd snubs you. She’ll even help you bury the body of the Yankee that you killed in self defense.

 

 

61t6c3q2sul-_ac_us218_6. Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web by EB White- She’s a creative problem solver, which is always useful. Plus, she’ll be honest with you. If you’re wrong, she’ll tell you. She’ll be gentle, never cruel, but she’ll tell you what you need to hear even if you don’t like to hear it.

 

 

 

51dxbewzuil-_ac_us218_7. Anne Shirley from the Anne series by LM Montgomery- I didn’t want to use this one because I have a feeling she’ll turn up on a lot of lists, but there’s a reason for that. She’s kind, adventurous and would be so fun to play Lady of Shallot with.

 

 

61yilvqhjhl-_ac_us218_8. Sara Crewe from A Little Princess by Frances Hodsgson Burnett- When times are good for her she’s happy to share her good fortune with others. When times get tough she remains just as generous.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Children’s Books I Appreciate More As An Adult

April 10: Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read (submitted by Brandyn @ Goingforgoldilocks)

I couldn’t think of much that fit this weeks topic so I changed it a bit. Rather than look at books I liked but wouldn’t want to reread,  I’m going to talk about books that I liked but only (fully) appreciated upon rereading them years later. As a teacher I reread  a lot of children’s books and often get a very different impression of them, as an adult.

41awaj1qnkl-_ac_us218_1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein– As a kid, this story made me so sad. The boy takes everything from the tree, and the tree just gives it happily. But I had to teach it to my class as an adult, and so I reread and realized that it’s a metaphor for the relationship between a parent and a child. The tree loves the boy unconditionally. The boy loves the tree but feels the need to leave the tree and make a life for himself elsewhere. However, he returns at various points for support/guidance/branches. The tree always gives it, in the same way a parent loves and supports a grown child.

61dfrcilrcl-_ac_us218_2. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams– This is another book that totally went over my head as a little kid. I mean I appreciated the story about how the boy’s love for the rabbit makes it real. But a lot of it is really about what it means to grow up and grow old, and how that affects our relationships. I think that if I were to pick it up again thirty years from now, I’d probably spot other things that I didn’t get rereading it recently.

 

5157xlbzfil-_ac_us160_3. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney– I happened across this essay about this book a few weeks ago and vaguely remembered the book from my childhood. I reread it and discovered a beautiful story about what “a life well lived” really means. Of course, the answer is different for different people, but for the titular character, it means having a sense of wonder and leaving something beautiful behind.

61t6c3q2sul-_ac_us218_4. Charlotte’s Web by EB White- I liked this book a lot as a kid. In the end, I think I saw Charlotte’s children (whom Wilber befriends) as his way of replacing her. I don’t think there was much judgment on my part for that. But as an adult, having experienced both friendship and grief, I give a lot more weight to this sentence: “Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.” I understand now, in a way that I didn’t as a child, that we can find new love in our hearts but we can’t replace the people we’ve lost.

51viyzpfqtl-_ac_us218_5. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett- This was a favorite of mine as a kid, but as an adult, I definitely see Uncle Archibold and his actions differently. I think for a while I saw him as almost villainous as a kid. I saw the ending as his reformation. Now, reading it, I see that he was a character torn up by grief over the loss of his wife, and trying desperately to protect his child in the only way that he knew how.

 

51z5jz2frjl-_ac_us218_6. Peter Pan by JM Barrie– I loved Peter Pan as a kid. He had it all, his own magical land where he could be a kid forever and play with mermaids and fairies and other children. What else could a child want? But even as I kid I sensed some sadness in him and now I understand it’s because he wouldn’t grow up. Children, even if they don’t like the idea of growing up, are essentially future-oriented. Without a future, Peter lives in an eternal present. And while he has a lot of playmates, he lacks a family. “There could not have been a lovelier sight; but there was none to see it except a little boy who was staring in at the window. He had ecstasies innumerable that other children can never know; but he was looking through the window at the one joy from which he must be for ever barred.”

61wpg9cp-4l-_ac_us218_7. Amelia Bedelia by Peggie Parish- I remember that this used to crack me up as a kid. I would laugh so hard that my stomach would hurt. Recently, I used this book to teach my class about puns and idioms. I realized that even though the humor still holds up, it’s also an illustration of the fact that people communicate in different ways (even when they’re technically speaking the same language) and understand things differently. It’s a good lesson to remember.

51mv1xuuql-_ac_us218_8. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown– Yes, hear me out on this one! When was the last time you took a moment to appreciate the moon? Or the clocks in your room? Or the socks? As a kid, I remember reading this with my dad before bedtime and then saying goodnight to the things in my room. I still think there’s something to be said for looking at the ordinary things in your life, the things you don’t really notice, and just acknowledging them.

51lvdevlnwl-_ac_us218_9. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle- As a kid, I definitely enjoyed the story about a girl traveling through space and time to rescue her dad, alongside her brother and her secret crush.  But rereading recently allowed me to see that there was so much more to it. At one point a character says “Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.” I don’t think I had any idea what that statement meant when I first read it. But now it seems like the perfect thing to tell a heroine who doesn’t fit into what the world expects of her, or what she expects of herself. And that’s not even getting into some of the scientific, religious, and philosophical themes in the book!

51y7aqds2yl-_ac_us218_10. Cinderella– As a kid, I was familiar with many different versions of Cinderella from around the world because I would compare and contrast them. I loved that all of them had some form of magic and that Cinderella got her victory over her tormenters and lived happily ever after. As a teen (and developing feminist) I scorned Cinderella as the heroine who needs her fairy godmother to wave her magic wand to produce a prince who could provide a happy ending. But as an adult, I see it differently. Cinderella is a heroine who survives years of abuse at the hands of her family without losing her characteristic kindness and good heart. I think she deserves some credit there. What she really wanted wasn’t a prince at all: it was a night off and a chance to go to a party. It was only after she met the prince and fell in love, that she became interested in anything more than that.