From my list on starring sentient animals (that not enough people know).
Who am I?
Being a human is fraught, so I've always been fascinated by stories of sentient animals, long before I sold my first short story at age 19 (about a tiny dragon that lived in a bathtub drain) or my 48th story (which features talking sand cats and is reprinted in my collection The Ramshead Algorithm: And Other Stories). While most of my 90+ published stories star humans, talking animals are a reoccurring motif in my work and in the ????+ books I've read across 40+ years. If you're ready to branch out beyond Watership Down and Redwall, here are 5 books that more fans of sentient animals should know about.
KJ's book list on starring sentient animals (that not enough people know)
Why did KJ love this book?
Zucchini the ferret, born in the Bronx Zoo, leads a bleak life.
When he learns about the outside world, he yearns to escape—but when he does, it's straight into chaos.
I read Zucchini many times as a child and last read it in my 30s, and it's wonderfully more grimdark than I remember. Published in 1982, the book is 1980's-New-York gritty, and so are the hard adult lessons: fighting for your needs is full of risk; betrayal is common; love, compassion, and understanding are scarce; and idealism has an unsustainable cost.
But this makes the bits of joy that Zucchini wrests from the world all the more vivid. The story, like the world, is hard; but the story, like the world, has hope.