What if you have a canine loving girl and she would like to see herself reflected in literature? Well, girls and dogs have in previous eras and in other cultures been seen together quite often.
OLD SCHOOL KIDLIT ABOUT GIRLS AND THEIR LOVE FOR DOGS
The 1940s gave us George and Timmy, though Enid Blyton felt she had to turn Georgina into an honorary boy.
Dorothy had Toto, but you won’t find Toto on a lot of the covers. Here he is on this one, though:
Notice that girl dogs tend to be little and cute, while boys tend to own larger working dogs:
Scotty dogs are perhaps especially feminine:
CONTEMPORARY MIDDLE GRADE
These days we do have the benefit of Kate diCamillo. This story ticks another box — it’s not about a well-off kid who lives in a middle class house and a good income. (Winn-Dixie has also been adapted for the screen.)
Here’s another book about other abled kids, and a girl and her dog.
Wolf Children is a Japanese animated feature about a girl and a boy who are half wolf, half human. The girl is the storyteller narrator. It follows both the boy and the girl as they navigate through childhood and make a big decision at adolescence.
In picture books we have the metafictive story This Book Just Ate My Dog, and the main character is called Bella and is wearing a dress.
A number of the stories above have been adapted for film/TV.
We also have The Journey of Natty Gann, which stars a ‘tomboy’ and looks to be a female equivalent of White Fang. The story is a Disney original but there’s also a novelisation of the film.
Set in 1935, the movie tells the story of a 15-year-old tomboy girl, Natty Gann (Meredith Salenger). Out of work because of Depression-era unemployment, Natty’s widowered father (Ray Wise) parlays his surefootedness into getting a job as a lumberjack. In order to get hired, he travels from Chicago to the state of Washington. He tells Natty that she will have to look after herself for the time being. Having no mother, Natty is left in the care of Connie (Lainie Kazan), the insensitive woman who manages the hotel Natty and her father had been living in.
After overhearing Connie reporting her as an abandoned child, Natty runs away to find her father on her own, embarking on a cross-country journey. Along the way she saves a wolfdog from a dog fighting ring. In return the dog, whom she calls Wolf, follows her as her protector in her attempt to return to her Father.
Header illustration: 100 Simple Recipes Stanley Ekman (1913-1998)