The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have just become ten years old again!
I sobbed through my reads of this book (& through my viewings of the Disney movie) It didn’t matter how many times I read/watched it & that I knew it Would Be All Right in the End, I’d be there with large, gulping sobs. & I kept my whole family awake until I cried myself to sleep. I was a very soft kid though. I wasn’t allowed to watch Lassie as I got so upset!
This book is worth all the tears. Burnford tells a wonderful fictional tale using three of her real life pets as the actors. The portrayals are never sentimental & cloying – if a reader can’t deal with the reality of what starving animals will have to do to survive, this isn’t the right book for them. (I do wonder if the version I read as a child had been censored. I was a kid who like the world best if I was looking at it through rose tinted glasses!)
The animals are portrayed with affection though it is clear that old Bodger is the love of Burford’s life.
Longridge the kindly, if failed, pet minder on Bodger (the bull terrier)
Lying awake in the dark that night,unable to sleep, he thought he would have given anything to feel the heavy thud on the bed that used to announce the old dog’s arrival. How extremely unloving and intolerant he had felt so often , waking in the middle of the night to the relentless shoving and pushing of his undesirable and selfish bedfellow.
My only criticism is that in most pictures Bodger doesn’t look like any Bull terrier I have known & illustrator softens the angular, exotic features of Tao the Siamese cat.
Because I grew up with these pictures I love them, but I hope one day Burford’s tale gets the artist it deserves.