Some of the most famous authors in the world also were devoted pet owners. Did you know literary humorist Dorothy Parker once had a pet alligator? And Flannery O’Conner, author of many short stories, owned plenty of peacocks. When famous author E.B White’s pig died, the incident inspired his novel plot in Charlotte’s Web, and an essay he wrote called Death of a Pig.
Basically, a lot of writers need muses or a furry best friend to get their creative juices flowing. In Writers and Their Pets: True Stories of Famous Authors and Their Animal Friends, you will learn about the lives of many diverse writers from white women like Elizabeth Barrett Browning and J.K. Rowling to Alice Walker, who is black and Latin-American poet Pablo Neruda. It also features writer Gertrude Stein, who was gay.
Each chapter features a different writer, and the book’s author Kathleen Krull describes the writer’s childhood, how they got into writing, their first love (I mean, pet), and the rest of their life after that. Plus, pictures throughout the book help you visualize how much the writers loved their pets. The illustrator, Violet Lemay, shows Alice Walker holding her chickens with pride, and Beatrix Potter being surrounded by her animals.
I loved learning about writers I had never heard of, and learning more about the ones I did! I had never heard of Edith Wharton, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature, but I hope to read her books soon. On the contrary, I had heard of William Faulkner, but I didn’t know he was notorious for writing endless sentences. (One of his sentences was 1,800 words!)
My favorite story was the one about Mark Twain. I thought his affection for cats was so sweet! I am a cat lover, too, but I only have one cat, and Mark Twain kept 11 at a time at one point! I also thought it was funny he named his collies “I Know”, “You Know”, and “Don’t Know”. Another author I liked learning about was Alice Walker. Her book, The Color Purple, sounds really good, but since it’s for high school students, I will have to wait. In the book, it said she had many chickens, and even owned five named Gladys.
I recommend this book to readers ages eight and up. It is a good book for pleasure reading, or if you just want to learn about some animal-loving authors. If you like books that have quick biographies of many different people, this is the book for you. I like those types of books because you absorb so much information in only a few minutes, and learn about so many different people.
Writers and Their Pets was awesome! I rate it four out of four roses!