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Falling in love (again) with anthropomorphism

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One of the things I like best about the One and Only Ivan  was the animal perspective, as I’ve expressed in a previous blog. Each and every one of us grew up with children’s books that connected us to animals, either through anthropomorphism (quick vocab lesson: animals with human feelings) or through a child’s relationship with a pet or farm animal. Having worked with veterinarians and vet techs over the last couple years in the publishing biz, I realize that this connection never changes for them, and that for some of us, our humanity is connected and clarified through our relationships with animals and our conception of their feelings.

Disney is one of the best purveyors of anthropomorphism. Movies like Bambi made certain I’ll never go hunting. Dumbo made me suspicious of circus animal treatment. Dozens of Disney sidekicks (Flounder, Abu, Pascal, Mushu, etc.) have me pondering what talking-animal sidekick might work best for my life.

But of course, children’s literature is where it all started. Three favorite classics utilizing anthropomorphism include The Jungle Book, Charlotte’s Web, and Stuart Little. You’ve probably heard of them all (or at least watched the movies), but when you really start digging, anthropomorphism in kid lit isn’t quite as extensive as you might think beyond picture books. I think that’s why I really enjoyed Katherine Applegate’s One and Only Ivan, because it took me back to a place that included the “Bare Necessities” and “Zukerman’s Famous Pig.” It made me remember falling in love with a sweet, curious mouse named Stuart, one of my first encounters with magical realism.

So, quiz-lover that I am, that only begged the question…which anthropomorphic character am I most like? Well, now we can all find out in the exclusive WWAT quiz on Buzzfeed!
Good luck!

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