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The Incredible Journey

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  42,108 Ratings  ·  651 Reviews
Instinct told them that the way home lay to the west. And so the doughty young Labrador retriever, the roguish bull terrier and the indomitable Siamese set out through the Canadian wilderness. Separately, they would soon have died. But, together, the three house pets faced starvation, exposure, and wild forest animals to make their way home to the family they love. The Inc ...more
Paperback, 145 pages
Published December 18th 1995 by Laurel Leaf (first published 1960)
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Community Reviews

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Pramod Nair
Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford is a timeless classic, which narrates the arduous and brave journey taken by three pet animals towards the family they love over harsh and dangerous terrain, and is an emotionally rich story, which will move the reader and will leave him with a glow of satisfaction. The feelings and emotions of these pet animals, their love towards each other and their loyalty and love for their owners are captured and expressed by the author with such a clarity that both yo ...more
I haven't seen the 1993 movie "Homeward Bound", but it doesn't sound like it would do justice to this wonderful story by Sheila Burnford. Published in 1961, this novel tells the story of an unusual trio of domestic pets that make an unlikely journey of 300 miles through the Canadian wilderness to return to their family's home. As you read the story of the trials and adventures of the three pets, you can't help but fall in love with Luath the Labrador, Bodger the Bull Terrier, and Tao the Siamese ...more
Chris Thompson
Dec 04, 2013 Chris Thompson rated it really liked it
As a kid, I fell in love with the movie inspired, thirty years later, by Sheila Burnford's novel, The Incredible Journey. That movie was called Homeward Bound and had a cast of talking animals who set out on an incredible one hundred mile journey to return home. The Disney film gave the animals human personalities: Chance the bulldog was goofy and reckless; Shadow the golden retriever was wise and loyal; and Sassy the Himalayan cat was, well, sassy. Burnford's novel deals with the animals much ...more
May 15, 2016 MaryG2E rated it really liked it
Written in 1961, this book was pitched at children, but I think it is equally appealing to adults, particular to those who are animal lovers.

Accidentally abandoned by their minders, three domestic pets embark on a 250+ mile trip across rugged country in northwest Ontario to be reunited with their owners. The animals don’t realise that their owners, the Hunter family, have been absent in England for 9 months. The young Labrador, Luath, has an excellent sense of direction and leads the ‘expedition
Rebecca McNutt
What a fantastic book this is, I loved it when I was a little kid and it's still just as excellent today! Plus it takes place in Canada, so I was familiar with the frigid weather that the three animals face throughout the novel. It was incredibly well-written and intriguing.
Mar 14, 2013 Sheila rated it it was amazing
Oh *sniff* My *choke* Goodness!*sob*
Please excuse me while I go find some Kleenex!

*blows nose, wipes tears, regains composure*

How can I not give this book anything other than my own 5-stars of LOVE!
*blows nose again, swallows hard*

I was a child of the 70's, so I knew of this story from clips of it I saw on The Wonderful World of Disney, which my sister and I watched every Sunday night. I don't think I ever saw the whole, original, 1960's Disney movie based on this book (and I never saw the 1980'
Timothy Boyd
May 16, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books as a young adult. This is still one of the best animal stories every written to me. Any pet owner should read this book. Highly recommended
Apr 04, 2016 Andrew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what to tell you. Well written, good observation of animal behavior, glorification of hunting and violence in the guise of cute happy-ending nonsense. I hope I never encounter this kind of thing again.
Dec 14, 2015 Jessica rated it it was ok
One of the rare cases where I thought the movie did the story much better justice. This book was quite bleak with not enough happy or humorous parts to balance it.
Ruth Sophia
I saw this book in one of those take-one-leave-one libraries. I thought "I wonder if Homeward Bound was based on this book?" so I picked it up. Turns out it was. Well, the original movie was based off this book and the 90s remake was based off the first film. I had vague memories of the movie - I think I'd only seen it once, long ago, so I can't really tell you how they compare.

The animals don't talk in the book - I actually rather expected it to feel similar to 101 Dalmatians, but it was decide
Oct 25, 2014 Indu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Animal lovers
Recommended to Indu by: Mom
I've been longing to read this book ever since my mom mentioned about it to me one evening...I love books with animals in not to mention my liking towards this book when there are three animals involved...:)

So one morning Luath - the Labrador, Bodger - the Bull Terrier & Tao - the Siamese cat start their perilous journey in search of their master...a westward voyage...

They were looked after by Mr John Longridge, a friend of Jim Hunter (master). Since he & his family had to go to
Wicked Incognito Now
Feb 06, 2008 Wicked Incognito Now rated it really liked it
Many of you probably saw the movie, but I would have to say (of course) that the book is better.

At first my kids were disappointed that there actually is NOT any dialogue between the pets as they travel. However, I was happy for them to experience a different sort of story. Often their own stories are filled with too much dialogue or too much description, and is rather short on story. This book should give them an idea about how things can be written.

I love this book because it's just a heart-wa
Jan 19, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-time-favs
I read this book probably 20 times when I was growing up...definitely one of my top all-time favorites. I loved animals, and for a long time wanted to be a veterinarian. I think I loved this book because of the combination of seeing from the animal's point of view, and the excitement of the adventure, and how realistic the writing was. A recommended read to anyone! And much better than the Disney adapted movie!
Hmmm. I think I read this in fifth grade? I don't know.

I don't particularly like animals. I have nothing against them; it's just that an entire book about animals just isn't my thing. There has to be people, which this really didn't have. (from what I remember). It was not a bad book. I liked the theme. Overall, it's a nice children's book.
Gnoe Graasland
Sep 05, 2015 Gnoe Graasland rated it it was amazing
My favourite children's book ever. Such a shame the Dutch translation is no longer available because every child should read this heartbreaking marvellous story. Gave 2nd hand copies to all related kids once they turned 10 :D
Hailey White
Jun 12, 2015 Hailey White rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
Perfect for animal lovers of all ages. My children (8,5,4,2,babe) all listened to the audio. Enough adventure to keep them interested and we joyfully clapped at the end! Perfect for family read aloud.
Dec 26, 2014 Allison rated it really liked it
Loved this book as a kid. Reading it with Carson who was very resistant. We are about 2/3 of the way done and I asked her if she liked it. She said it was sad. I said, "But do you like it." She said, "If you like things that are sad, then this is AWESOME!". Sigh...
Jun 20, 2015 Sara rated it it was amazing
Listened to the audio version with my boys on a road trip. My son's smile and bright eyes when he realized the reunion was coming=5 stars. Classic and inspiring.
Austin Hammond
Mar 12, 2015 Austin Hammond rated it really liked it
Austin Hammond
English 12-5

“The Incredible Journey”
Author: Sheila Burnford

I just finished reading the book “The Incredible Journey.” I thought this book was good, and I enjoyed reading it. The story takes place in Northwestern Ontario, Canada, where John Longridge lives. John Longridge is in charge of watching his friends' pets while they are away on vacation. Along the way, due to some miscommunication, the pets are nowhere to be found. Throughout the book you go along with them on thei
Patricia Bergman
Sep 23, 2016 Patricia Bergman rated it it was amazing
I just put down a tissue. This book is not only touching, it is brilliant. Years ago, my father suggested that I would probably enjoy this book since I loved animals. I have finally read it and am going to watch the movie. I loved this book.
Miss Pippi the Librarian
The only reference I had for The Incredible Journey was watching Disney's 1993 movie: Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey when I was younger. I figured it was (finally) time to read the original.

I checked out the Incredible Journey from my library's Overdrive collection, so I could enjoy it while I walked. It made an excellent companion because the animals were on the move and so was I! It also kept my interest as I relived that the Disney movie was far from the book. (But aren't most movie a
Nothing feels better than to read an old childhood classic read. Plus I was able to include it in my Around the World in 52 Books Challenge. It's been many years since my Daddy read me this (Hey I may be 21 but Daddy is the only thing I've ever called my father) story. I loved it then and I really loved reading it now that I'm older.

The story of the young lab, old bull terrier and the Siamese cat is one that is timeless and one that appeals to both the young and old as well as new readers and th
Corinne Zilnicki
Sep 23, 2011 Corinne Zilnicki rated it really liked it
The last time I read this story was also the first time I read it - when I was 8 years old. I was a bit obsessed with Homeward Bound (hah, as if anything has changed!) and remember being surprised and disappointed to discover that the book doesn't have dialogue. I liked the story back then, but I love it now.

Three pets - Tao the Siamese cat, Bodger the old English bull terrier, and Luath the strapping young Labrador - embark on an (excuse the obviousness) "incredible journey" after misunderstand
Jul 23, 2009 Elhara rated it it was amazing
Gee, now I am questioning my memory. Was it "The Wonderful World of Disney" that I first saw the Incredible Journey? I'm sure, like many others, I share the memory: Mid 1960's, Sunday evening, 6 o'clock, Mr. Disney himself did the introductions. "When you wish upon a star.. makes no difference who you are...." Looking back I was so thrilled to watch Walt Disney when it was an animal story. I was never a fan of Mickey Mouse or anything animated. Wherever I initially saw this production I ...more
James Vachowski
Jan 26, 2014 James Vachowski rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-boys-like
“The Incredible Journey” is another book where animals actually serve as the main characters, and the story is about how these housepets make a trip of several hundred miles through the wilderness to re-unite with their owners. I’m always amazed by these type of animal stories, and how the authors succeed in letting the reader have a peek in on the animals’ thoughts and feelings.

Unlike “The Call of the Wild”, the two dogs and a cat in this book don’t feel very much in touch with wild animals, no
Jun 06, 2013 Vicki rated it really liked it
A charming and heartwarming adventure of three Canadian house pets, The Incredible Journey has captivated young readers for over 50 years, losing nothing over time in its capacity to draw the reader into the dangerous and unlikely adventure of these three animal friends.

The older of the two dogs is an English Bull Terrier, Bodger, long past his prime. The Siamese cat, Tao, is Bodger's closest companion, but it is the young Laborador Retriever who is intent on returning home to the master he miss
Summer Lane
Aug 19, 2012 Summer Lane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey was my favorite movie growing up. To this day it’s still my fondest childhood film. I loved it so much that I would wake up in the morning humming the theme song, and my dog Jessie and cat Luke would inadvertently become my stand-ins for Shadow and Sassy. So I found an old book in my closet titled, The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford, and I had to read it. The book was penned during the early 60s, and like Born Free, it is almost like reading a book
Leslie Lesté-lasserre
Apr 23, 2014 Leslie Lesté-lasserre rated it it was amazing
The Incredible Journey is many things. It is, for instance, as the title says, incredible: Burnford makes one travel through everlasting forests full of dangerous wild animals, towns of harsh and cold-hearted people, farms of kind and welcoming folk, fast and deep rivers, plains of green grass. And all these different lands are a part of the path of three domestic animals, wanting to go home: a smart and swift cat, a young and determined retriever, and an aging but fierce bull terrier.
It is also
Feb 21, 2014 Cielo rated it really liked it
I'd seen the movie a looooong time ago, and although the book was really different, I enjoyed it a lot. The personalities of the two dogs and cat where probably the most striking difference between the movie, since the plot was pretty much the same, a few differences here and there, but not that many. I like dog stories, especially dog stories where the dog doesn't actually die at the end (why is that I wonder, like 80% of all dog books! end in the dog's death, it's so frustrating), so I was ...more
Amy Flink
Apr 29, 2011 Amy Flink rated it it was amazing
I first saw this movie on Disney when I was about 9. Recently, over 20 years later, I was in Half Price Books and spotted the book so I bought it. I was intending to give it to my 10-year-old niece, but then I started reading it. I had tears in my eyes. It was so inspiring.
This book is very symbolic of the Christian walk--through the wilderness, into the "Promised Land". We all need each other--nobody is an island. We cannot go it alone. Like the animals in this book. They stay together and hel
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Sheila Philip Cochrane Burnford, née Every, (11 May 1918 – 20 April 1984) was an English novelist.

Born in Scotland but brought up in various parts of the United Kingdom, she attended St. George's School, Edinburgh and Harrogate Ladies College. In 1941 she married Doctor David Burnford, with whom she had three children. During World War II she worked as a volunteer ambulance driver. In 1951 she emi
More about Sheila Burnford...

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