• Sarah Margaret Henry

Ranked: Books With Animals in the Title

I've decided that it's time to add a book club element to my blog.

Since I don't want to start off all high-brow (although we'll certainly get there), I want to begin this humble series with something straightforward, inane, and completely subjective.

I love animals. That's a secret to no one.

I also love reading. Again. Not a secret.

So I've decided to combine my two favorite things and rank books I've read that have animals in the title.

Pretty simple premise, glad we're all on board. Let's get started, shall we?

Disclaimer: If you feel inspired to read one of these books, the links to their page on Amazon would give me a small commission at no cost to you. So if any of these novels are on your reading list, do your girl a favor and send a few cents her way by using the links below.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird

Truly an American classic to be sure, but the title's a bit of a red herring. By that, I mean akin to the phrase red herring, it's a metaphor using a bird to represent something else and the book features exactly zero real birds.

With a name like that, you'd hope at least someone had a pet parakeet, just so you can meet at least one friendly bird face, but no, you only get metaphors.

4. Lord of the Flies

Again, alarming lack of a focus on the flies promised in the title. While they certainly lived on the tropical island, they played no critical role as a character en masse. Again, the author chooses only to use animal names metaphorically.

This trend continues when they nickname the one boy "Piggy."

And come on. That's just straight up rude.

3. Bird Box

At least there's actual birds in this one. They do play a critical role in the plot, but their characterization is severely lacking. Not one of them gets a pet name, and the characters only use them as tools for survival. I get that it's the apocalypse and all, but these little heroes deserve some names for their service.

I'd feel much more comfortable traversing a dangerous river blindfolded if I was being led by Nugget, Guinevere and Kumquat.

2. Animal Farm

If the last piece lacked characterization in their animals, Orwell's Animal Farm more than delivers. They talk, strut, and institute violent dictatorial communism.

As one does.

Beyond their characterization and plot focus, the true center of the novel is not the animals at all. Orwell just manipulates farm animals as pawns in his little allegorical game.

But he makes pigs the villain, which is absolutely the right move, because I truly believe that pigs are inherently evil. So he got that right.

But he made the dogs malicious and exploitable by the king pig for his evil plot, so Orwell loses points there.

1. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Impeccable work of art. An underappreciated American classic. A tale rife with raw human emotion in avian form. The pigeon explores a range of the experience essential to the human condition. Truly an unparalleled piece in prose and illustration. 10/10, would recommend to any and all who love literature.


So there you have it, folks! The conclusive work on ranking novels with animals in the title.

What did I miss? What's your favorite book with an animal title? Begin the literary discourse in the comments!

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