Five Memorable Animals in Children’s Books

They’re not the stars of their books, true. But they’re all unforgettable…

Eeyore (Winnie the Pooh)

EeyoreWinnie the Pooh is a fabulous character, but his miserable old donkey friend almost steals the show. Fond of eating prickly thistles – and prone to losing his own detachable tail – Eeyore raises a chuckle every time he appears. Famously a bit dim, the old donkey nonetheless doesn’t think much of his fellow animals: “No brain at all, some of them.” Deliciously grumpy and a pure delight.

Mr Toad (Wind in the Willows)

ToadSay hello to the original lovable rogue. Toad of Toad Hall is wealthy, vain and utterly impulsive. A lifetime of indulgence has left him with zero sense of boundaries. So when he steals a fast car, crashes it and ends up in jail, no-one is surprised. But even still, generations of readers have fallen for the tweed-suited amphibian. He may be deeply flawed, but he’s always entertaining and irresistibly good fun!

Wilbur (Charlotte’s Web)

WilburThis runt of the litter would tug at even the sternest heartstrings. Bullied, teased and ignored by almost all his fellow animals, Wilbur’s luck goes from bad to worse upon learning he’s heading for the farmer’s dinner table. But once Charlotte the spider saves him, the young pig matures handsomely – caring for Charlotte’s hatchlings and eventually winning a prize at the county fair. A happy ending richly deserved.

The Cheshire Cat (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

Cheshire CatThe most famous set of teeth in literature. If you read the book, you may be surprised at how sparingly the Cheshire Cat appears (and disappears) – but its effect is always hypnotic. The Cat’s weird conversations with Alice are very funny. And its eventual disappearance to nothing but a grin results in one of the best lines in children’s literature: “[Alice had] often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat.”

Hedwig (Harry Potter)

HedwigHarry Potter’s snowy owl, a birthday present from the gentle giant Hagrid, is a firm fan favorite. Hedwig’s primary job was delivering the young wizard’s mail, but she always knew what he needed and was completely loyal. (She also often showed her affection by nibbling Harry’s ears and fingers!) When she was eventually killed by a Death Eater, legions of fans mourned the loss.

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