So here's a list of seven of my favourites:
- Stuart Little. I was about six or seven, and had started reading happily by myself, and there's this mouse, but he can speak, and drive a motorcycle, if memory serves correctly. (I think it may be the second book.) It took me a long time to separate fact from fiction.
- Bagheera the panther, from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Really, this cat's far too cool for school.
- Fievel from Richard Adams' Watership Down gets the vote for freakiest bunny in a book
- Pedlar from Garry Kilworth's House of Tribes. A mouse in a house, but not used to being so. (Around about the same time I read this in my teens, I also read a book in translation about a cat. I think it was a Turkish or Hungarian author, and it was good, and there was a sequel. I think the picture of the front was of a Russian Blue, but I can't remember the name of the book. A single word I think, probably the cat's name. Maybe beginning with G, or am I thinking of Grendel? Obviously it didn't make as much of an impression as the meeces.)
- Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox (I am looking forward with trepidation to the film version)
- I'd probably choose a character from Orwell's Animal Farm too, but I was put off that by ten force-fed pages in school so have never read it. Sticking with the farmyard though, I'll take the easy, cheesy option and go with Charlotte the spider.
- And of course to wrap up there's the one who can't talk, who really is a dog. Buck, from Jack London's Call of the Wild.
And in case you're wondering, Aesop's Fables don't count. They deal in stereotypes, not characters.