A is for anthropomorphism
That is attributing human characteristics to things that are not human; and it happens a lot to animals in children’s stories. And why not? Some of the best characters in children's literature are animals with all the complexities and foibles of humans. The white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland is a classic example. Lewis Carroll takes the nervous nature of the rabbit and gives it human reasoning; ‘Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!’ And he adds the natty clothes and the pocket watch to imply fastidiousness. Beatrix Potter also mastered this and had a great understanding of animal anatomy too. Think also of The Wind in the Willows and of the animal characters that Pinocchio encounters; the fox and the cat; the talking cricket who Walt Disney turned into Jiminy Cricket... and perhaps of the puppet itself; a toy given human feelings.
B is for biophilia
Biophilia is the idea that there is a bond between humans and nature; that we have an innate love of animals. Not all people love all animals and we could probably do without mosquitoes, but the bond is real. We might live more removed from nature now but people and pets work together and we are drawn to David Attenborough’s brilliant TV documentaries and other wildlife programmes.
C is for conservation
This matters; loss of biodiversity; loss of habitat; loss of the iconic, the unconsidered and the yet to be discovered species will affect us all. It seems that we value only what we understand, so books might still have a role in widening our understanding of the world around us. Biophilia and bibliophilia ought to play an important part in conservation.
Oh, and C is also for cute.