Category Great Books For Children

What is anthropomorphism?

Do you love stories of talking animals, singing portraits and chatty kettles? If yes, then you are a fan of anthropomorphism.

A literary device, anthropomorphism (pronounced anthro-polt-more-fizz um) is used by authors to attribute human traits to animals or inanimate objects. This is done to make non-human characters more relatable and entertaining to readers and viewers. You may have seen this in stories and films that depict animals who can talk behave and feel emotions just like us. Children’s classics such as “Dr. Dolittle”, “Charlotte’s Web”, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit”, and “Chronicles of Namia: The Lion. The Witch, and the Wardrobe all feature anthropomorphic characters.

While animals are commonly shown as anthropomorphised creatures, this technique is also used to bring inanimate objects to life by assigning them human-like qualities. Disney-Pixar films often use anthropomorphism – bringing clownfish and toy space-rangers to life as the beloved Nemo in Finding Nemo” and Buzz Lightyear in “Toy Story”.

The term ‘anthropomorphism’ was coined by the Greek Philosopher Xenophanes after observing the physical similarities between people and their Gods.

Anthropomorphism vs. Personification

It is easy to confuse anthropomorphism with another similar literary device called personification. But the two are starkly different. Personification is a figure of speech in which a thing, an animal or an abstract notion is ascribed human qualities. For instance, the sentence, “Nature unleashed its fury through thunderstorms,” is an example of personification, because nature can’t be “furious” as it cannot feel human emotions. However, saying that nature can feel anger and fury emphasises the harshness of the storm. On the other hand in anthropomorphism, the non-human objects literally behave like human beings.


  • “The Beauty and the Beast”: The fairytale as well as its Disney adaptation is packed with anthropomorphic furniture such as clocks and wardrobes that sing, dance and talk.
  • Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”: Humans and anthropomorphic characters such as walking rabbits, smiling cats and even talking playing cards exist together in this fantastical story.
  • J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter series: The magical world of Harry Potter is full of anthropomorphic characters. For instance, the talking and sometimes singing portraits hung inside the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The centaurs of the Forbidden Forest, who are half human, half-horse and skilled at Divination, are other examples of anthropomorphism.
  •  “The Secret Life of Pets” film franchise: Wonder what your pets – cats, dogs, or even rabbits – are up to when you leave the house? ‘The Secret Life of Pets” films show pets as socialising, watching telenovelas, raiding the fridge and even rocking out to heavy metal music when humans are not around.
  • Richard Adams’ Watership Down: In his debut novel. “Watership Down” (1972), Adams featured rabbits that could talk in their own distinctive language (Lapine).
  • “Doctor Dolittle”: Hugh Lofting’s series of children’s books portray a doctor who can talk to animals in their own languages. The books were adapted into highly successful films, starring Eddie Murphy as the main character.


  • Giving hurricanes human names is also a form of anthropomorphism. It is done because a human name is simpler and easier to comprehend than a scientific name, and makes us more receptive to information.
  • In religion and mythology, anthropomorphism is the perception of a divine being in human form, or the recognition of human qualities in these beings. Greek deities such as Zeus and Apollo are often depicted in human form exhibiting human qualities such as beauty, greed, hatred, jealousy, and uncontrollable anger.

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What are the most popular types of children’s books?

Family matters

A bitter-sweet tale of the March family, Lousia May Alcott’s “Little Women” will fill you up with the warmth of friendship and family. A semi-autobiographical book, “Little Women” is loosely based upon Alcott’s family – she was the second of four daughters. Despite being published in 1868, the coming-of-age story of the four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – remains timeless and universal. It tells of love and loss, aspirations and dreams that the sister’s experience on their journey to adulthood.

Over the years, the classic has been adapted into many films and plays. The 1994 film adaptation is one of the most acclaimed version with Winona Ryder as Jo and Christian Bale as Laurie. In 2019, Greta Gerwig’s adaptation was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Winds of change

Kenneth Graham’s “The Wind in the Willows” has been adored from generation to generation. In this enduring classic, we meet his splendid animal characters: Mole, Rat, Mr. Toad and Mr. Badger, and revel in their adventures on the banks of the River Thames. Told in Graham’s gorgeous lyrical prose, readers will be transported with tales of Toad Hall, the Wild Wood. This book is an endearing treasure. Grahame wrote this classic after retiring from his job as a bank secretary and moving to Berkshire. He spent much of his time next to the River Thames and got the idea to expand the bedtime stories he used to tell his son Alastair.

An English summer

From the “Famous Five” and “Secret Seven” to the “Malory Towers” and “Adventures of the Wishing Chair”, Enid Blyton has a story for every age group. But her ‘The Faraway Tree’ series is one that has universal appeal. Jo, Bessie and Fanny come across an ancient tree in the middle of an enchanted forest. The tree is so gigantic that its top reaches clouds that hold magical lands! Together with the tree’s unique inhabitants such as Moonface, Saucepean Man and Silky the pixie, the cousins explore different worlds on top of the tree.

Adventures of Anne

Between 1908 and 1939, Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote seven books about an imaginative, talkative, high-spirited girl named Anne Shirley. Set in the 20th century, in a fictitious town of Avonlea on the tiny Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, “Anne of Green Gables” is the most popular book in the series. And no wonder. It is pure joy to read. It follows the adventures of Anne, a sweet-natured and cheerful girl with bright red hair. An 11-year-old orphan, she is mistakenly sent to live with the Cuthbert family, who had originally intended to adopt a boy. Anne has a quirky imagination and a vivacious manner, which makes her a likeable character. As she gets into hilarious mishaps and merry mischief, you will find yourself rooting for this red-haired girl!

An unlikely friendship

Published in October, 1952, “Charlotte’s Web” is one of the most popular children’s books by E.B. White. A young Fern Arable saves the life of a newborn pig on her father’s farm. She names him Wilbur and nurtures him lovingly. However, when she grows up, she is forced to sell Wilbur to her uncle who intends to slaughter him for food. That’s when Charlotte, a barn spider, who can read and write come up with a way to save Wilbur’s life. With the help of other farm animals, Charlotte convinces the Zuckerman family that Wilbur is actually quite special by weaving words and short phrases in praise of Wilbur into her web. The book weaves a heartwarming tale of an unlikely friendship.


  • Here’s a list of some of classics that are now available for free as audio books:
  • “Frankenstein”, written by Marry Shelley and narrated by David Dobrik
  • “Great Expectations”, written by Charles Dickens and narrated by James Langton Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Bronte and narrated by Sarah Coombs
  • “Persuasion”, written by Jane Austen and narrated by Cynthia Erivo


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When did the classic ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ first appear?


               It is the story about how Paddington Bear from Peru comes to live with the Brown family of Number 32, Windsor Gardens, London, and how he makes a friend in the form of Mr. Gruber, and an enemy in the form of Mr. Curry. Paddington is very friendly, extremely polite and has a strong sense of right and wrong.

               However, he also has a child-like curiosity, and is rather naive. Life among humans in England is new and fascinating to him, and he has some difficulty adjusting. As a small bear, he also has some physical difficulty coping in a world which is not designed for him, which makes him appear somewhat clumsy. As a result, Paddington often finds himself in trouble of some kind. Nevertheless, things always seem to work out well for Paddington in the end.

               ‘A Bear Called Paddington’ first appeared in 1958. From then on the character Paddington has been featured in more than twenty books written by British author Michael Bond and illustrated by Peggy Fortnum and other artists.

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What makes ‘David Copperfield’ a much-loved book?



              ‘David Copperfield’ a novel written by Charles Dickens, was first published in 1850. Considered the most autobiographical of Dickens’ novels, it follows the life story of a man named David Copperfield, who has to fend for himself at an early age, following the death of his mother. This was Dickens’ favourite among his own novels.

               The lead character, David Copperfield, spends his early years in relative happiness with his loving widowed mother. Soon after her marriage to another man nothing remains the same. After giving birth to a baby boy, she and the child die. David Copperfield struggles hard, and later, became a proctor. How David ultimately finds fame and fortune as an author is the plot of the classic novel.

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What make ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’ a great work for children?

            ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’, starts with a boy offering a cookie to a mouse. When the mouse receives the cookie, he asks for a glass of milk. To drink the milk, he asks for a straw. Once he is done eating he asks to look in the mirror to make sure he doesn’t have a milk moustache. When he looks in the mirror he realizes he needs a trim, so he asks  scissors.

            After cutting his hair, he sees that he has made a mess, and asks for a broom.

            Once he starts cleaning he gets carried away, and starts cleaning the entire house. After he’s done cleaning, he wants to take a nap, since he worked so hard. So the boy has to look for a small blanket, pillow, and box so that the mouse can take a nap.

            The mouse then asks for the boy to read him a book, and when he saw the pictures he got excited and asked if he could make his own drawing. So, he draws a picture of his family, and even signs it with a pen.

            Then he wants to hang it up on the refrigerator himself. Once the drawing is hanging on the fridge, he realizes that he’s thirsty. So then he asks for a glass of milk, and when he gets the milk he then wants a cookie to go along with it.

            ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’ is a book written by Laura Numeroff. It was illustrated by Felicia Bond, who also illustrated the other books in the series.

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What makes ‘The Magic Pudding’ a great work?



               ‘The Magic Pudding’ is the story of Bunyip Bluegum the koala, who is pushed out of home by the size of his uncle’s whiskers. Forced to eat his meals outside, he decides to go and see the world instead.

               When he gets hungry, he meets two friends, Bill Barnacle the sailor and Sam Sawnoff the penguin, who own Albert, the magic pudding. Albert can talk, change flavour on request and also has stick-like legs. However much you ate, Albert never diminished. His only pleasure is being eaten and on his insistence, Bill and Sam invite Bunyip to join them for lunch.

               There are people out to steal magic pudding. Pudding-thieves like possum and wombat are after the magic pudding. Even the powers-that-be, the Judge, the Usher, the Mayor and the Constable, seem part of a grand plan to wrangle the pudding out of the hands of its rightful owners.

               ‘The Magic Pudding’ is written by Norman Lindsay and was first published in 1918.

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Why is ‘The Call of the Wild’ one of its kinds?


               This book tells the story of a St. Bernard-Scotch shepherd breed dog named Buck who is taken from a life of comfort and thrown into the wilds of Alaska and northern Canada. Since the novel deals with Buck as though he were a person with thoughts and emotions, it is known for its interesting plot.

               What happens next in the life of Buck? To know more about this, read the much loved book ‘The Call of the Wild’. It was a novel by Jack London published in 1903. The story was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in the summer of 1903, and was published a month later in book form. It was later adapted to movies.

               ‘The Call of the Wild’ focuses mainly on the idea of primitive life, the time before cell phones, cars, and houses.

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Why is ‘The Children of Green Knowe’ a remarkable work?


               Toseland, who prefers to go by Tolly than any other nickname, comes to live with his great grandmother in their ancient family home one rainy day. Tolly has a great imagination to occupy his time, and soon, he looks for ghosts from the past. All the while, he listens to stories of the three ghosts: Toby, Alexander, and Linnet, and even finds some of their belongings and makes friends with them.

               ‘The Children of Green Knowe’ is the first in a series of six children’s novels written by Lucy M. Boston. It was published in 1954.

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What makes ‘What Katy Did’ a remarkable story?

               Katy is a girl on the cusp of adolescence. She has all kinds of plans for what she wants to do when she grows up. She thinks of ways in which she can be a good person, and a credit to her family, but when it comes to implementing them in her day-to-day life, she generally just gets into trouble.

               After an accident leaves her bed-ridden, Katy is forced to rethink her ambitions and her relationship with her family. Katy finds the courage to remember her daydreams and the delightful plans she once schemed. How she achieves this is the plot of the much-loved book, ‘What Katy Did’.

               At the end of the book she becomes the heart of the home, beloved by her family for her unfailing kindness and good cheer.

               ‘What Katy Did’ is an 1872 children’s book written by Sarah Woolsey under her penname Susan Coolidge.

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Why is it said that ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ has captivated generations of readers?


               ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ is the first book in the Little House book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It was published in 1932 and was illustrated by Helen Sewell. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s story begins in 1871 as a four-year old girl living with her mother, father, older sister Mary, and baby sister Carrie.

               In the course of this story, she celebrates Christmas with her family, Aunt Eliza, Uncle Peter, and three cousins Alice, Peter, and Ella.

               She and her family go to visit her grandparents’ house after they harvest maple sap. Her parents even take her and her siblings on a trip to the town of Pepin, a few kilometres away from their house.

               At night, her father plays the fiddle for Laura’s younger siblings to send them off to sleep. He also tells them stories.

               ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ has captivated generations of readers.

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