A Tuesday Ten: Animal Fantastic in 2015
Posted by Stephanie Whelan
In the continued spirit of crafting 2015 thematic lists, here’s my list of speculative fiction focused on animals. The stories can feature people too, but the animals remain large in the overall story of the book. I’ve kept the list to actual animals (though they may be magically altered or anthropomorphic) cryptids and legendary creatures are material for another Tuesday Ten . . .
The Taken by Inbali Iserles (Scholastic, Expected Publication September 2015)
This is the new Foxcraft series featuring a young urban fox whose family is wiped out by a skulk of foxes with strange eyes called “The Taken”. Young Isla must struggle to survive and keep ahead of those hunting her while figuring out her own gifts and strengths. Quite an enjoyable heroic journey book so far, I’ll be interested to see where this story goes. Foxes with magic and folklore all their own. We’ve seen this kind of story quite often from the feline side of things, but rarely from the perspective of foxes, dogs and wolves.
Firefly Hollow by Alison McGee, illustrated by Christopher Denise (Atheneum, August 2015)
This lovely and lyrical illustrated novel is a quick read, but full of bittersweet themes and yearnings. Our main characters are an ambitious firefly, a cricket who wants to catch a baseball, a lonely vole, and a boy named Peter who misses his best friend. Christopher Denise’s luminous illustrations add magic and wonder to the tale.A quiet story of moving on, being who you are, and ultimately deciding if life is worth the risk.
The Wild Ones by C. Alexander London (Philomel, August 2015)
Racoons are the protagonists of this urban fantasy adventure! Kit is a young raccoon who finds himself smack dab in the middle of a turf war between the wild animals like himself, and the pets in the city–who call themselves the Flealess. Somewhere there exists an artifact called the Bone of Contention that proves a truce was made between the Wild Ones and the Flealess, but now the Flealess want to make certain that the Bone is never found …
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate (Feiwel & Friends, Expected Publication September 2015)
This one’s a little bit of a stretch with the theme on “real” animals, but given that Crenshaw is a giant cat, even if he is an imaginary giant cat, I thought it worth including him. Jackson and his family are going through hard times, and Crenshaw comes back into the boy’s life to help him. I’m eager to snare a copy of this one! It’s the only book of my animal fantasy list this year where a feline is a main character (and the title character no less!)
Last Panda Standing by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Walden Pond Press, May 2015)
The third book in the Platypus Police Squad series. In Kalamazoo city, a good detective is always needed to sort out the crimes and criminals amid our anthropomorphic platypi, pandas and other sundry creatures. This time, detective Zengo is without his mentor as he tries to protect Frank Pandini Jr. from a series of attacks. Will he get to the bottom of things in time?
Storm of Dogs by Erin Hunter (HarperCollins, February 2015)
The sixth book in The Survivors series, this is a story of apocalyptic dogs surviving in a world where The Big Growl has done enormous damage, and all the “longpaws” have disappeared. Dogs must learn to survive and fend for themselves. Written under the Erin Hunter pseudonym by multiple authors, this series captures the epic adventures of canines as the Warriors series did with felines.
First Born by Tor Seidler, illustrated by Chris Sheban (Atheneum Books, March 2015)
In our society of wolves, Lamar is not the big strong alpha wolf his father wishes for him to be–and his friendship with a young coyote is simply intolerable. But can Lamar give up the only friends he’s ever had in order to make his family happy? A story about being oneself and what is most important.
Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon (Dial Books, August 2015)
A wild and wacky tale of Harriet Hamsterbone– a most unusual princess. When this lovely hamster learns that she was cursed to prick her finger on a hamster wheel on her twelfth birthday and fall into a deep sleep, Harriet takes a different view of the curse. It’s wonderful news! She’s completely invincible until she’s twelve! And so she’s going to go have a world of adventures . . . I really can’t wait to read this one!
Hopper’s Destiny by Lisa Fiedler, illustrated by Vivienne To (Margaret K. McElderry Books, March 2015)
The second book in the Mouseheart urban fantasy series about a mouse with a heroic destiny. After deposing an evil ruler and putting a stop to the horrific accord that kept the feral cats at bay, Hopper is now trying to rebuild the city. But things remain a challenge, with plenty of work and heroics left for him to do. Will Hopper be able to grow into the role he was meant to play?
Ratscalibur by Josh Lieb (Razorbill, May 2015)
Joey goes from middle-school kid to three-inch tall rodent when a mystical rat bites him. Joey the rat finds a fascinating world of smells and foodstuffs with plenty to explore. But when he pulls the legendary spork from the scone, he’s suddenly enmeshed in the middle of a prophecy that will affect all of the rat kingdom. A funny and wacky take on the Arthurian legends from the perspective of a modern day city rat.
Can you add any fantastic animals to my 2015 list? Comments welcome!
About Stephanie WhelanI'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.
Posted on September 2, 2015, in General Posts, Lists and tagged Animals, Authors, Books, Children's Books, Children's Literature, fantasy, kidlit, Lists, literature, MG Books, Middle-Grade Fiction, Reading, sequels, series, Urban Fantasy. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.