Talking-animal tales have conveyed anticruelty messages since the 18th-century beginnings of children's literature. Yet only in the modern period have animal characters become true subjects rather than objects of human neglect or benevolence. Modern fantasies reflect the shift from animal welfare to animal rights in 20th-century public discourse. This revolution in literary animal-human relations began with Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and continued with the work of Kenneth Grahame, Hugh Lofting, P.L. Travers and E. B. White. Beginning with the ideas of literary theorist Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin, this book examines ways in which animal characters gain an aura of authority through using language and then participate in reversals of power. The author provides a close reading of 10 acclaimed British and American children's fantasies or series published before 1975. Authors whose work has received little scholarly attention are also covered, including Robert Lawson, George Selden and Robert C. O'Brien.
Talking Animals in Children's Fiction
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