The Incredible Journey
Sheila Burnford (Juvenile Fiction)
How far would you travel and what would you be willing to endure just to be home again? Three animals—a Siamese cat, a bull terrier, and a Labrador retriever—travel nearly 300 miles across the Canadian wilderness and battle fatigue, hunger, wild animals, cold, and sickness in order to be reunited with their beloved family again.
Burnford gives us a story of loyalty, inclusivity, diversity, and empathy. This is not a warm and fuzzy tale of three pets and their charming and delightful antics throughout the frontiers of Canada. This is a harsh and brutally honest story of survival, death, pain, and endurance. There is plenty of bone crunching and flesh tearing to remind young readers that this isn’t just another cutesy animal story, but this should not deter them in the slightest from reading this book. The Incredible Journey is an exquisite story of love and friendship. Each animal must depend on one another for survival while proving their own unique worth at pivotal parts of the story.
This is one of those rare books that is so captivating, you almost forget (and really don’t miss) the fact that a majority of the story lacks dialogue. Through Burnford’s adept and masterful storytelling, we understand the language “spoken” between the three companions through their actions, reactions, hisses, and howls. A flick of the tail or drawing down of the ears convey more emotion and drama under Burnford’s nuanced pen than pages and pages of dialogue ever could. Serving as a brilliant complement to Burnford’s words are the beautiful and rich illustrations by Carl Burger. The two combined give readers an emotional, exhilarating, unforgettable, and one incredible journey.
* Book cover image attributed to www.goodreads.com