I’ve been doing some research on talking animals. It seems like there are quite a few animals out there in the literary world that are smarter (or better, or cooler) than people, and I’ve taken the time to make a list for your perusing pleasure.
Anyway, here’s my FIVE list of animals that are smarter than people:
5. Reepicheep, The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
Well, maybe not exactly “smarter,” but definitely more noble, humbler, stronger, and purer of spirit. I’ll never forget this: my dad read The Voyage of the Dawn Treader to
me when I was a little kid, and at the end, when that little talking mouse paddles up that waterfall into the sky, he started crying. I’d never seen that happen before. Reepicheep has a special place in my heart.
4. Nicodemus, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
The eponymous rats in this classic Newbery winner have literally developed their
own civilization with heat, electricity, hierarchy, food storage, etc. A more cynical person than me might say that compared to these rats and their leader, Nicodemus, we humans have yet to really work the whole civilization thing out.
3. Foaly, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Well, he’s a centaur . . . does that mean he counts for half an animal? Whatever. His crazy inventions, as well as his quick, witty banter with Commander Root, are half (see what I did there?) of why Artemis Fowl is so much fun.
2. The Cat, Coraline by Neil Gaiman
It’s well documented by now that I love Neil Gaiman, and The Cat is one of his cooler characters — sarcastic, wise, sly, and smart enough to know the danger it’s in from the Other Mother. The Cat’s moments of fear and hilarious, forced bravery (when Coraline throws The Cat at the Other Mother) are great grace notes.
1. Sirius Black, Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Well, again, not really an animal, but he certainly spent plenty of his time in dog form! At any rate, Sirius/Padfoot was a loving godfather, loyal friend, and awesome wizard. I was speechless at the end of Book 5.
What do you guys think? Any smart talking animals I missed? Speak up!
— Jack, STACKS Staffer