Post by Ellie, Information Services Staff
Animals! We don’t deserve them! I feel like I couldn’t have gotten through the stress and isolation of the pandemic without my cats, seeing dogs walk past my window and bird watching in my backyard and the park. So for this post I want to simply celebrate them – their cuteness, their beauty, their wisdom and their simplicity – and everything they bring to our lives.
Here is some great recent fiction featuring Human Animal relationships – and you can find a longer list in our catalogue here!
- The Travelling Cat Chronicles | Hiro Arikawa
- And the Ocean Was Our Sky | Patrick Ness
- Fox 8 | George Saunders
- Among the Beasts and Briars | Ashley Poston
- Bird Cottage | Eva Meijer
- The Friend | Sigrid Nunez
- The Testament of Harold’s Wife | Lynne Hugo
- Drifts | Kate Zambreno
- The Candlelit Menagerie | Caraline Brown
- Other People’s Pets | R.L. Maizes
- All the Animals on Earth | Mark Sampson
- Chimerica | Anita Felicelli
- How to Be Human | Paula Cocozza
- In Dog We Trust | Beth Kendrick
- The Elephant of Belfast | S. Kirk Walsh
- Perestroika in Paris | Jane Smiley
- An Incantation of Cats | Clea Simon
- Pug Actually | Matt Dunn
- Better than People | Roan Parrish
- Animalia | Jean-Baptiste del Amo
These non-fiction books about fabulous fauna are pretty neat too!
- The Secret Life of Cows | Rosamund Young
- Esther the Wonder Pig | Steve Jenkins and Derek Walters
- The Age of the Horse | Susanna Forrest
- Tuco | Brian Brett
- Metal Cats | Alexandra Crockett
- The Secrets of Lost Cats | Nancy Davidson
- Crusoe, the Celebrity Dachshund | Ryan Beauchesne
- Maddie on Things | Theron Humphrey
- Lost Animals | John Whitfield
- The Salmon People | Hugh W. McKervill
Cats and Artists
If you love cats and art as much as I do, check out these tails and tales of cat loving artists:
Louis Wain (1860-1939) was one of the most popular illustrators of his time. He began drawing his cheerful, large eyed cats for his wife Emily before her death. They rose to immense popularity and profitability, however due to unfortunate circumstances remained impoverished, and was grief-stricken after Emily’s death. Wain increasingly experienced mental health issues, but continued to create cat art after being institutionalized, and the effects of what some consider to have been schizophrenia can be seen in the psychedelic progression of his art work. Read more about this fascinating artist in Cute Cats & Psychedelia: The Tragic Life of Louis Wain.
Gottfried Mind (1768-1814) was a Swiss artist referred to as “the Raphael of Cats”. Mind learned to draw and paint from the German artist Legel, and demonstrated an early talent for representing animals. Mind is one of the the earliest recorded examples of the existence of Autism. He also suffered from a “poor constitution”, which led him to spend much of his time indoors drawing his array of cats. You can view many of Mind’s fabulous felines on The Great Cat.
Check out the Ukiyo-e Prints of Utagawa Kuniyoshi. The cute and funny cats in Kuniyoshi’s art work represent more than meets the eye. The artist worked in Japan in the 1840s at a time when the Tokugawa Shogunate enforced harsh restrictions on artists, and so Kuniyoshi used cats to represent “subversive” cultural figures such as kabuki actors, courtesans and geisha. Kuniyoshi’s prints were hugely popular and fans enjoyed trying to decipher the visual clues to identify each cat.
Take this guided virtual tour of “The Ten Coolest Cats In Art” from Google Arts & Culture.
Celebrate animals with KPL! Join us for…
- Camping 101! Learn from the experts at Parks Canada all about how to have a great camping trip alongside the wildlife of Canada.
- Lure the birds and the bees into your life with Tween Scene STEAM Bee House DIY and Tween Scene Special: Build a Birdhouse!
Have questions? Want more recommendations?