Pet Travel Tuesday
Destination: Wyoming, England, France Books: Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs: How They Guard Sheep by Cat Urbigkit, (2005) Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (1930) Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat by Susanna Reich, illustrations by Amy Bates (2012).
Pet Travel and Childhood Wonder
By Pamela Douglas Webster
When subzero temperatures and post-Christmas bills keep me hibernating at home, I love reading about travel to far-off places.
But unlike many people who save their lighter reading for summer vacations on the beach, I prefer simple and uncomplicated books during the short winter days. In fact, I feel a strong urge to read children’s books. Rekindling a sense of childhood wonder takes me as far from today’s worries and cares as any adventure yarn or south seas travelogue. Throw in a kind animal companion and I’m transported far away.
In 2013 I reviewed some delightful books to inspire travel with pets. I’ve found three children’s counterparts that allowed me to revisit my favorites just in time for record cold temperatures. Check them out to renew your sense of childhood wonder. Or read the adult book that inspired me while sharing the child’s story with your own youngster.
Brave and Gentle Dogs Guarding Sheep
Reading Cat Urbigkit’s Shepherds of Coyote Rocks: Public Lands, Private Herds and the Natural World left me pondering the human and environmental benefits of the pastoral life. But in the gloomy winter, I’m more drawn to her photo essay for children, Brave Dogs, Gentle Dogs: How They Guard Sheep. Anyone who knows enough about a subject to describe it for children knows her stuff. But her beautiful photos are the real draw of this book. How hard must your heart be to spurn pictures of puppies and lambs?
Classic Island Tales and Childhood Wonder
Tom Neale’s account of the solitary life he shared with his cats on an island paradise, An Island to Oneself, continues to inspire. Cruising sailors make pilgrimages to Neale’s island home, Suwarrow, to pay homage to this independent spirit. And enough landlubbers continue their own fantasies of such adventures to make Arthur Ransome’s classic Swallows and Amazons as popular with adults as with children, more than 80 years after its writing.
The story of two rival sets of English children exploring their common river by sailboat and camping on an island continues to enthrall readers. Banding together to make war against the “pirate” living aboard a boat with his parrot makes the children friends. It’s no surprise that both classics of bold and independent adventure remain favorite reads of cruising sailors.
Julia Child Loves Cats
<Julia’s Cats: Julia Child’s Life in the Company of Cats by Patricia Barey and Therese Burson could almost be a children’s story. One of the endearing qualities of Julia Child is that she never outgrew her sense of joy and wonder. And nothing amused Julia as much as cats.
Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat by Susanna Reich tells the story of the real-life kitten who sampled Child’s earliest cooking efforts. Amy Bates’s beautiful illustrations transported me to that test kitchen high above the streets of Paris. Reviewing books that inspire pet travel has given me plenty of inspiration both for fantasy and for the trips I wish to take with my dog one day.
As I end my tenure writing for A Traveler’s Library, I’m most thankful for the chance to reflect on the wonderful perspective that travel with pets gives us—a new way of seeing and appreciating the world. And if you enjoy exploring the human-canine bond, whether by traveling or training or just observing dogs, stop by to see me at Something Wagging This Way Comes.
Disclosures: The links will take you to Amazon, where you can buy these books. It will not cost you more but I will earn a few cents commission. Thanks for your support.