In our interview with author S.D. Grimm a few weeks ago, she chose to share her top 3 animal characters. I thought it was such a fantastic idea for a Top 3s category that I decided to devote a post of my own to it.
Though I'm fond of animals in real life, I'll admit I don't tend to read a lot of books involving animals. But every once in a while, I read an animal character that is done so well it influences the entire book and stays with me just as much as the human characters.
So, here are the animals that made my top 3, in which you may notice I have a fondness for cats... :)
3. Monster from Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
At the beginning of the story, Princess Una and her brother come across a large, golden, blind cat. Una develops an instant affinity for the cat and takes him home with her, naming him Monster. Monster has a huge personality and characteristically feline attitude throughout the book, resulting in high entertainment value. But he also turns out to be much more than what he seems, which makes him a complex, interesting character as the reader learns that Una's encounter with this lovable cat was far from a coincidence.
2. Gogu from Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
I've already posted about this book in my favorite fairy tale retellings, but I can't help mentioning it again, because Gogu is just fantastic. For the majority of the story, Gogu is the unusual pet frog of Jena, the protagonist. She takes him along everywhere she goes, usually hidden in her pocket, and can read his thoughts. As a result, he is her friend, adviser, and confidante, and they share some great moments - sometimes funny, sometimes touching. But in the end, it turns out Gogu has a secret that impacts their relationship in a huge way - I don't want to spoil it, so you'll just have to read to find out what it is :)
1. Taggle from Plain Kate by Erin Bow
This book isn't the kind of thing I usually read, but I found it eerie, fascinating, and beautifully written. Kate, a lonely orphan, makes a deal with a stranger to give him her shadow in return for her heart's wish. He grants her wish not to be alone by giving the power of speech to her cat, Taggle, who turned out to be one of my favorite characters. Taggle not only provided a humorous reprieve from the prevalent darkness in the story, but he also proved a loyal, self-sacrificial friend to Kate. Best of all, his entire personality was just so cat-like. Bow clearly has a true understanding of felines, which made Taggle both memorable and endearing.
Honorable mentions go to Pantalaimon from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series and Manchee from The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, but they didn't quite make the cut, in part because I just talked about both of these series in my last Top 3s post :)
Do you have any favorite animal characters? Do they correspond to animals you enjoy in real life? What makes an animal character memorable for you?
Thanks for reading!