Saturday, March 27, 2010

Donkeys, books and God

Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry, illustrations by Wesley Dennis

And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,

Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.

And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.

Bible, New Testament, Matthew 21:1-3

A little equine celebration in honor of the day the donkey enters the story by giving the messiah a lift into Jerusalem. She (by general account, it seems to have been a she-donkey with a baby at her heels) must have maintained an admirable calm considering biblical descriptions of a large, rowdy, palm-chucking crowd, and the lack of a description of Jesus hitting the ground.

I have a soft spot for donkeys, with their furry ears and small size. Also, as far as I know, the only equine ever owned by anyone in my entire family was a donkey on my mother's side in Ireland. And now that I've been wandering around the Internet searching for additional donkey titles, I discover that there's a donkey/book connection - Ethiopia is making donkey carts into mobile libraries.

I also discovered that an English town has banned donkey rides on its beach. This was another (see here) of those things I found so enviable when I was a kid reading English books - their beaches had donkey rides. True, the U.S. does have a Donkey Beach - it's a former nude beach in Hawaii. Not quite the same thing.

And a list of books starring donkeys. I was not expecting such a long list, myself, but apparently the animal lives at the center of a perfect storm of nostalgia, where the American and Mexican Old West, WWII-era rural Italy and the more eccentric sides of the United Kingdom collide.

Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry, illustrations by Wesley Dennis
The Small War of Sergeant Donkey by Maureen Daly,
The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett
The Little Grey Donkey by Helen Cresswell
The Turf-Cutter's Donkey by Patricia Lynch
The Donkey Rustlers by Gerald Durrell
The Secret of Donkey Island by Lavinia R. Davis
Donkey Detective by Lavinia R. Davis
Donkey On The Doorstep by Lucy Daniels (Animal Ark series)
The Donkey Diaries series by Peter Clover

The Small One by Charles Tazewell
The Donkey Cart by Clyde Robert Bulla
The Story of A Donkey by Madame La Comtesse de Segur, J. H. Willard
Clever Jack
Sandro's Battle by David Scott Daniell

Travels With My Ass by John Pascal
Travels With My Donkey by Tim Moore
Travels In A Donkey Trap by Daisy Baker
Travels With A Donkey in the Cevennes by Robert Louis Stevenson
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell
Last of the Donkey Pilgrims by Kevin O'Hara

Also, several of the living-in-the-country books by Derek Tangye and Doreen Tovey feature pet donkeys.

Matthew 21:1-11 at Biblegateway
WXICOF list of donkey books
The Small One film at IMDB
BBC - Ethiopian Donkey Library story
Ethiopia Reads
ALA article on the donkey libraries
Telegraph - Donkey rides banned from beach

Books online
Travels With My Donkey by Tim Moore at Google Books
Last of the Donkey Pilgrims at Google Books
Travels With A Robert Louis Stevenson at Google Books
The Story of A Donkey at Google Books
Donkey Diaries: Donkey Drama at Google Books
Clever Jack at Google Books

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