The Incredible Journey
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The Incredible Journey

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  32,347 ratings  ·  458 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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Sheila
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'...more
Chris Thompson
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 m...more
Wicked Incognito Now
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...more
Katie
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!
James Vachowski
“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...more
Kimberly
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...more
Elhara
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 absolute...more
Megan
I was six years old when the remake of The Incredible Journey, Homeward Bound, came out. I loved it, even if the portrayal of Shadow always managed to make me sad. (So old and devoted and wise... I still remember the end, when he comes home, and... okay, okay, I'll stop...)

This book is very different from the movie. There's still two dogs and a cat, but their personalities are different and the reason for their journey has also changed. This book is very calmly paced. I won't say it's slow, beca...more
Summer Lane

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...more
Leslie Lesté-lasserre
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...more
Cielo
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 cur...more
Amy Flink
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...more
Lindsay Nichols
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anna Marie
Our latest lunch-out-loud read... and I wasn't sure how it was going to go over. If you're reading a story written about three animals there's not much for dialogue... I thought it might be a real slog. Astoundingly, my kids LOVED this book, and begged for 'just one more chapter'.

Two dogs and a cat are being house-sitted by a family friend while their family goes abroad for some time. When he goes on a hunting trip and leaves them with the housekeeper, they decide to go home - to their REAL home...more
J
Feb 04, 2008 J rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
One of my faorite books ever. I have a copy and just decided to read it again. It only took a few hours and it was a pleasure to revisit Sheila Burnford's touching and inspirational story about a cat and two dogs a long way from home. Great, straightforward writing and a good story.
Anne
Wonderful story about two dogs and a cat who are left with friends while their people travel on vacation. They decide to go home, a hazerdous journey of many miles. Good book, very heartwarming and recommended to anyone who loves animals.
Trice
It's been a while, but my memory is that this was a good read in the realm of animal adventures.

Commenting on modern movie-making, I will always find it semi-baffling and obnoxious that the movie made of this book had talking animals, while the book does not, but the live-action film of The Hundred and One Dalmatians, which does have talking animals in the book, was made as a farcical, cheap physical comedy with dogs 'communicating' through ridiculous stunts - while I have respect for the dogs'...more
Emily Becker
I vaguely remember seeing the movie as a kid, but now that I've finished the book I can assure you it's way better. I'm a total sucker for animal adventures, though I think this is the first one I've ever read where they didn't have dialogue. Initially this turned me off a bit (though it's obviously more realistic) but I got more into the story as it went on and I ended up really loving their wordless interaction and camaraderie. The characters are all so lovable in their own ways, the sassy, in...more
Janet
Mar 26, 2014 Janet rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young animal lovers!
I think part of the joy in parenting comes from chances to relive some of your own favorite childhood memories. I couldn't wait to share this one with my daughter(who is five). I think somewhere along the lines, Disney colored my recollections of the book and filled it in with Chance, Shadow, and Sassy instead of Luath, Bodger, and Tao. Oops.

I couldn't help but insert the names Chance, Shadow, and Sassy. Otherwise, short of omitting a fun of the gun/hunting references not much else needed to be...more
Laura
A sweet book. The fact that the animals did not talk to each other (at least not in English) made the story seem more mature.
Wendi
This is a really good book. 4th grader reading it for literature and she can't put it down. She doesn't generally like stories about talking animals and prefers realism. There were no talking, personified animals here. We do like stories about friends. The Siamese cat, English bull terrier, and labrador retriever are unlikely and amusingly best friends.

A wonderful story. Well crafted. Descriptions of the animals reminds me of that English veterinarian's books "All Creatures Great and Small". Ah...more
Sandy
Read this with my daughter, lovely book, had a tear in my eye at the end.
Katie Emmanuelle
This was an amazing book! I loved the characters especially the cat.
Zoe
It was amazing. I learned that love will lead you home!
Lydia
Feb 17, 2012 Lydia added it
I NEED TO FINISH THIS BOOK..............
Lisa Kearns
I read this book as a girl in the early-70s, and was in love with the story. Jump ahead 40 years and I am enjoying helping my kids do reports on the book after they read it. It tells the story of a cat and two dogs who journey hundreds of miles to find their human family. On the way they face all kinds of adventures and dangers, and learn that together they are stronger than each of them is alone. They motivate each other to continue on the hard journey, protect and care of each other, and by th...more
Laura
I was reThe Incredible Journeyminded of this little treasure when a patron asked me to help identify a movie that she had seen a child. Since she was a little younger than me, I was the most likely candidate to solve the mystery. The movie turned out to be "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey." It turns out that this cute movie was actually based on the book The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnsford which was originally written in 1960. The book was based on a true story.

Three household pets...more
Charlotte
This book was also enjoyed with my grandson. It is the story of two dogs and a Siamese cat who make a stressful 300 mile journey across the wilderness of northwest Ontario. The animals belong to the Hunter family who leave for a year in England where the father, Jim spends a year doing university lectures. The dogs are left with family friend John Longmont, godfather of the Hunter's daughter Elizabeth. Near the end of the year, John Longmont goes on a two week duck hunting trip, and the dogs are...more
Myles
Luath the young Labrador, Bodger the old English bull terrier and Tao the Siamese cat set out on a long 300 mile trek home through the Canadian wilderness.

This book was a real treat. I've only ever seen Homeword Bound: The Incredible Journey, the remake of the original adaption with talking animals, but the basic plot and encounters were essentially the same. The movie was just a touch more melodramatic. Just a touch. This book blows that beloved-by-little-me classic out of the water though. Eve...more
Shanna Gonzalez
Sheila Burnford's story of three beloved family pets (a Labrador retriever, bull terrier and Siamese cat) who make a cross-country trek across Canadian wilderness to reach their home has an undeniable appeal for animal lovers. The book is written in a realistic style without anthropomorphic overtones, and each animal's personality is developed in line with the characteristics of its breed.

For parents who wish to cultivate a biblical view of humans stewarding the environment in line with the Crea...more
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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
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