I'm a sucker for animal stories. Fiction, non-fiction. Children, adults. Doesn't matter.
What does matter is how well the story is told. A wonderful example of good animal storytelling is the 'Chet and Bernie' series by Spencer Quinn. The books are narrated by Chet, a clever dog who helps his human partner, Bernie, a private eye, solve crimes. Most of the crimes involve animals, and Chet has a special rapport with most of them. 'The Art of Racing in the Rain', by Garth Stein, and 'A Dog's Purpose', by W. Bruce Cameron, are other excellent examples of sensitive, thought-provoking storytelling. They all captured my heart and reinforced my compassion for the animal kingdom. As for non-fiction, 'Dewey the Library Cat', and 'Oogy', made me cry so hard I couldn't catch my breath. Ditto the James Herriott books, a phenomenal series of memoirs which have become well-deserved classics.
All of these books share a common theme: The love between animals and their humans.
'About a Cow', by Andy Frazier, is what one would call a 'little story'; simply told, but full of impact. Narrated by Princess, a cross-bred cow, she is confronted by prejudice, general snobbery, and, at one point, a sense of resignation. Right after her birth, she is loved and cared for by a boy named Jamie, but when Jamie grows ill, Princess is sold off...and everything changes. The story takes off when a once-famous cattleman enters her life and gives her the chance to shine. The humans who love her give her the confidence to go on and become the best she can be. But along the road, she meets humans who do not have her best interests at heart. The line separating compassion and cruelty is made very clear. Mr. Frazier has done a fine job of bringing more than a few tears to my eyes.
The adventures of Princess continue in 'In the Company of Animals', 'Cow Factor', 'The Royal Detective, and 'Cow Diva'. For more information, visit Andy's site: www.andyfrazier.co.uk