I went back and forth quite a bit about what book I thought needed a little extra love during Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I like to think that all the books I read and love these days are wildly successful and that they don’t need an extra push because they’re amazing and everyone knows it. Whether that’s my wishful thinking or reality, I couldn’t name one book that was crying out for attention.
And so I thought back to some of my favorite books growing up. Books I’ve read over and over through the years, books that never lost that place in my heart they’d held. And books that maybe aren’t as well-known today.
While The Yearling, Old Yeller, Watership Down and The Wizard of Oz are classics that will forever be remembered, books like The Phantom Tollbooth, Tuck Everlasting, Tiger Eyes, Born Free and The Outsiders might not be as widely known.
And as it is one of my most favorite of childhood stories, one that I’ve never forgotten, because it’s heartbreaking and heartwarming and magical, I just couldn’t help but show a little love for The Incredible Journey.
Title: The Incredible Journey
Author: Sheila Burnford
Publisher: Yearling (Reprint Edition)
Pub. Date: 1961
Instinct told them that the way home lay to the west. And so the doughty young Labrador retriever, the roguish bull terrier and the indomitable Siamese set out through the Canadian wilderness. Separately, they would soon have died. But, together, the three house pets faced starvation, exposure, and wild forest animals to make their way home to the family they love.
The Incredible Journey is one of the great children’s stories of all time–and has been popular ever since its debut in 1961.
I really hope this book is as popular today as the description says it is. It is a delightful and heartwarming journey that brought me to tears many times. The writing is beautiful and really made the story and characters come to life. It had wonderful illustrations that gave dimension to the scenes they depicted. And while it is a short book, the story was rich with detail and action-packed and was the perfect length to tell Luath, Bodger and Tao’s story.
I was so glad they’d released it for the Kindle last year. I’d requested it countless times as my print edition was falling to bits. Now I can be anywhere in the world and have access to a story that captivates me with every read and allows me to escape for a couple hours.
For just a taste of the author’s amazing way with words, here are a couple short passages.
The shadows lengthened across the deserted track, and the evening wind sighed down it to sweep a flurry of whispering leaves across the rut, their brown brittleness light as a benison as they drifted across the unheeding white form.
The bear halted, then reared up to full height attack, red eyes glinting savagely, neck upstretched and head weaving from side to side in a menacing, snakelike way. The cat uttered another banshee scream and stepped forward with a stiff-legged, sideways movement, his squinting, terrible eyes fixed on his enormous adversary. Something like fear or indecision crept into the bear’s eyes as the cat advanced; she shuffled back with lowered head.
Well, I don’t know if that was enough to pique your curiosity about this book, or to entice you to read it again if you already had. But both Amazon and Barnes & Noble give you the option to take a peek inside the book. And maybe a longer look will do the trick.
While The Incredible Journey is commonly thought of as a children’s book, it apparently wasn’t necessarily written as one. Which is probably why it is such an enjoyable read no matter how far away from childhood I am.
And as this is a lifelong favorite of mine, one I’ve read many, many times I couldn’t let this year’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week go by without giving it a shout out.