Title: The Incredible Journey
Author: Sheila Burnford
Major Themes: Animal Stories, Canada, Wilderness
Synopsis: When three animals become homesick for their owners, they take off on a several-hundred-mile journey through wilderness, trying to find them.
I had forgotten how good this book was, until I read it aloud to my children this week. I love the author’s way of drily including humor here and there throughout the story; we particularly enjoyed the scene where the cat was washing himself and when the tip of his tail twitched, he pinned it down! There were a lot of other funny sentences, as well.
When the story begins, a man is relaxing in his living room with two dogs (a Labrador and a bull terrier) and a Siamese cat. He is caring for the animals while their owners are in England for six months or more. The next day, he leaves for a few weeks’ hunting with his brother in their cabin to the north, leaving the animals in the care of a neighbor. However, before she arrives, the animals take off to the west, towards their old home. The young dog, the Labrador, leads the others, and the cat hunts for food, which he shares with the old dog. They run into many dangers, such as bears, a lynx, a suddenly-flooding river, and a porcupine. Will they ever reach home—even if some do, will they all, or will the trip be too much for some of them?
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12, 10 – 12