Animals have always occupied a special place in literature for young people, from Charlotte in “Charlotte’s Web” to Hedwig in “Harry Potter.” Unbound by the usual limits on human behavior, these characters can easily fly, burrow, make magic, and oh yes, dispense wisdom to their human characters. As many an author has noted, animal characters also flout the conventions of race and class.
Of course, these days, “animals” in children’s books are just as likely to be shape-shifters as friendly woodland creatures. Here are two new standouts in the genre that occupy opposite ends of the animal spectrum.
The story you’re reading is premium content from the Austin American-Statesman. Subscribers get total access to all our in-depth news, digital editions and exclusive premium content. You can also buy a 24-hour digital pass or 7-day digital pass.
Read MyStatesman.com now — 24-hour digital pass99¢ for 24-hours
Read MyStatesman.com all week — 7-day digital pass$3.99 for 7-days
Subscribe to the Statesman for as little as 33¢ per dayView Offers
For Subscribers: Register your account for digital access.Access Digital
For Subscribers: Sign in here if you have already registered your account.Sign In
Cynthia Leitich Smith
Candlewick Press, $17.99
The Cats of Tanglewood Forest
Charles de Lint
Little, Brown, $17.99