Children's books about animals are everywhere. The Cat in the Hat. Berenstain Bears. Clifford the Big Red Dog. But plenty of grown-ups enjoy reading animal tales. Here are some of our faves. — Shirl Kennedy, Susan Thurston and Dalia Colón
Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog: Newspaper columnist John Grogan and his wife, Jenny, decide a yellow lab puppy will make a good practice baby. But when real children enter the picture, Jenny gets fed up with Marley's destructive ways. His antics, and occasional sweet gestures, will resonate with dog owners in this memoir. Harper Paperbacks.
Life of Pi: In Yann Martel's fantasy adventure, an Indian zookeeper packs up his family and animals, and they head off to Canada on a freighter. Following a shipwreck, precocious 16-year-old Pi, the zookeeper's son, finds himself in a lifeboat with an assortment of animals. But eventually it's just Pi ... and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker ... for the next 227 days. Mariner Books.
Watership Down: What might put you off: 400-plus pages of talking rabbits. What will surely suck you in: the parallels that emerge between human and rabbit culture in Richard Adams' tale of a group of rabbits searching for a new home after their warren is destroyed by a developer. Avon.
The Cat Who Covered the World: The Adventures of Henrietta and Her Foreign Correspondent: Why should dogs get all the press? New York Times correspondent Christopher S. Wren tells the story of his cat, Henrietta, who followed him to posts around the world, from Cairo to Beijing. The New York tabby managed to find trouble wherever she went. Simon & Schuster.
Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Uncovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence — and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process: In this touching memoir, researcher Irene M. Pepperberg pays tribute to her African gray parrot, Alex, who became something of a celebrity and changed the way scientists view animal intelligence. Collins.
Millie's Book: Get an insider's view of the White House through the eyes of Barbara and George Bush's springer spaniel Millie. The quick read (as dictated by Barbara) features behind-the-scene photos of the presidency, Millie and her puppies. Millie's musings offer a light-hearted look at life in general. Harper Perennial, 141 pages.