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We’ve been eagerly anticipating what role Robert Downey Jr. would take on in his new post-Marvel life and here it is: Doolittle. This remake of the Dr. Doolittle story has all the familiar elements (talking animals) but with a subtle twist: RDJ’s Dr. Doolittle isn’t frightened by this gift, he embraces it. And with that small change, we’re suddenly incredibly excited to see Doolittle. But before we do so, let’s revisit some of our favorite books about talking animals. Because let’s face it: we’re a little jealous of this new superpower.

 

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

We dare you not to cry while thinking about Charlotte’s Web. This book – and the quintessential movie adaptation – holds such a special place in our heart. Remember Wilbur? Remember how he was the runt of the litter and yet he survived to have a full life, complete with a spider BFF? That’s the dream, right? We always turned to Charlotte’s Web when the human beings around us just didn’t understand. Perfect sick day reading; perfect everyday reading. Think twice before you kill that spider in your apartment, y’all.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

 

Maus by Art Spiegelman

Here’s another tearjerker, but for completely different reasons. Why are all the books about talking animals so sad? And while the characters in Maus aren’t technically animals – it’s an allegory where the Nazis are cats and the Jews are mice – we become so engrossed that we believe they are. It’s the perfect retelling of a horrible tragedy and the guilt that comes from surviving such an atrocity. Part memoir, part graphic novel, Maus will have your whole heart.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

 

Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada

Three generations of polar bears – all circus performers in East Germany – tell their history in Yoko Tawada’s Memoirs of a Polar Bear. It’s a strange format, relying on the first-person account of bears who move in human society. It’s a captivating tale to say the least, one that asks its readers to take a good hard look at what it means to be captive – and what it means to be free. And admit it, you’ve never read a book from the perspective of a polar bear before. That experience alone is worth the cost of admission.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

 

Watership Down by Richard Adams

When we first learned about Watership Down, our first reaction was “Sign me up!” A novel about a band of wild rabbits in search of the perfect society? A hero’s journey filled with rebellion and survival? It almost reads like the older brother of Charlotte’s Web, full of life lessons about perserverance and flexibility and finding your way home. Plus they’re rabbits! Who doesn’t love rabbits?

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

 

 

Mort(e) by Ropert Repino

If you're interested in more, be sure to check out Mort(e) by Robert Repino, the author of the upcoming middle grade novel Spark and the League of Ursus.

The “war with no name” has begun, with human extinction as its goal. The instigator of this war is the Colony, a race of intelligent ants who, for thousands of years, have been silently building an army that would forever eradicate the destructive, oppressive humans. Under the Colony’s watchful eye, this utopia will be free of the humans’ penchant for violence, exploitation and religious superstition. The final step in the Colony’s war effort is transforming the surface animals into high-functioning two-legged beings who rise up to kill their masters.

Former housecat turned war hero, Mort(e) is famous for taking on the most dangerous missions and fighting the dreaded human bio-weapon EMSAH. But the true motivation behind his recklessness is his ongoing search for a pre-transformation friend—a dog named Sheba. When he receives a mysterious message from the dwindling human resistance claiming Sheba is alive, he begins a journey that will take him from the remaining human strongholds to the heart of the Colony, where he will discover the source of EMSAH and the ultimate fate of all of earth’s creatures.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Indiebound


A Book You May Enjoy

Danielle Mohlman's picture

Danielle Mohlman

Danielle Mohlman is a playwright, bookworm, and library connoisseur. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. (She has a lot to say.) And on Instagram. (She never foodstagrams.) When she grows up, she wants to be Leslie Knope.