I am taking part in this year's Blogging from A to Z Challenge. This is my submission for O ...
I'm not a big fan of the first Harry Potter book, but that scene in the film adaptation where the owls swoop down in the great hall to deliver post - a cinematographer's dream! Hedwig went on to play a starring role, until his brave sacrifice in the final book (and second to last film). But the first Owl I loved was in "Winnie the Pooh". I discovered the books by A A Milne quite late when I read them aloud to a sick neighbour and just fell in love. Of course, Owl was jolly pompous but I had a sneaking appreciation for wisdom, in whatever form it could be found ... even when mis-spelling occured!
Whilst having a bit of a rummage, I discovered a delightfully named book called "How the Ostrich got its long neck: a tale from the Akamba in Kenya". This folk tale reminded me of the "Just So" stories by Rudyard Kipling that I read to my daughter when she was young. The story contained just the right amount of silliness in the rather elaborate answer to those inevitable questions children love to ask - how and why? Brilliant!
On my continued browsing for tales of unusually named animals, I came across a rather more serious offering: "In search of the Okapi: an adventure in Central Africa". The author - Ernest Glanville - was a well-known author in South Africa where his books were used as texts for teaching in school, short stories being his particular speciality. The copy I found of this short story had been re-printed this year - a considerable time after his death in 1925.
Mij from "Ring of Bright Water" and Tarka the Otter were two well known stars of family films which I missed entirely. Despite the films being released 10 years apart, our once-every-three-years trips back to England somehow never co-incided and I felt daft admitting I'd not seen them. But there is no doubt that these much loved films made Otters seriously big film stars ...
But two decades later, there was "Free Willy". The tale of a boy who trains a captive Orca to leap a wall to freedom. Sadly, the orca who starred as Willy was to die a year later, despite being released into the wild himself. But Willy got the fully hollywood treatment, having three sequels and an animated spin-off. He gave those otters a run for their money ...
How could I not mention the next animal star? Found in a world completely outside my realm of knowledge - in a life simulation video game - The Sims. The Sims Castaway series apparently contains an Orangutan called Waiata, who is described as a friend of the main character. I know I really ought to have done more research on this ... but I'm afraid that I went rather cross-eyed at the thought. Nevertheless, Waiata is a star in his world!
Featured in a famous classic work which has been the subject of multiple film adaptations is the Octopus. The book you ask? Why "20,000 Leagues under the Sea" of course. Now, you're probably thinking wasn't that a giant squid? Well, it turns out that in the original french, the word was 'poulpe' - which translates as either and both. So, there you go un-named Octopus, you're the star of a foreign classic!
Lewis Carroll [and not C S Lewis - thank you so much bertie] provided us with the wonderful bit of nonsense that was "The Walrus and the Carpenter" containing the tale of the Oyster. Although it can hardly have been called a star - appearing as it did simply in drawing form in both book and animated film - it can't possibly be excluded because of its great contribution to humour.
Ah, the Ox - that reliable old beast of burden. I've no doubt that its appeared on many a page and screen. But - today - its included in this list as its one of 12 animal signs in the Chinese zodiac. Its not glamorous or glitzy, but it did answer Buddha's summons second whilst carrying the Rat on his back, but only because the Rat claimed first place ...
Finally, our tenth and last famous animal - the Old English Sheepdog. Star of film and TV, books and comics, an icon even, but also Martha from Martha, my dear. There not many animals who can claim that a Beatle wrote them a song.
It was quite fun writing a list post - what do you enjoy about them? Do you find them a challenge or a limitation?