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The Incredible Journey

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  50,277 ratings  ·  1,067 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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SuzAnne An "indian summer" refers to a time of the year in Canada in autumn when warmer weather lingers into the fall season. …moreAn "indian summer" refers to a time of the year in Canada in autumn when warmer weather lingers into the fall season. (less)
Harriette Sheila Burnford wrote this book in the early 1960's and was educated in the United Kingdom. Her large vocabulary allowed her to write a simple plot wi…moreSheila Burnford wrote this book in the early 1960's and was educated in the United Kingdom. Her large vocabulary allowed her to write a simple plot with a lot of "fancy words."(less)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  50,277 ratings  ·  1,067 reviews

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Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-fiction
This is one of my all time favorites that I read as a kid and I was curious to see if it would wield the same emotional power that it did over 30 + years ago. It came into my hands again through a curious set of circumstances.

First: my mom and I had been talking about books during a phone conversation. She had mentioned finding her copy of "Three Against the Wilderness", which I hadn't heard of before so I thought she had meant this one while substituting a different title. Nope, completely diff
Apr 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
this is on my "gimmie sequel" list for riffle:

Last year I decided to reread once book each month that I had loved when I was a little kid to see how they held up to the refined and sophisticated literary standards of my adulthood. As it turns out, I had excellent taste as a l'il nipper. OR I still have the sensibilities of an eight-year-old. Pass the marshmallow cereal.

During this process, I discovered that several of my beloved books had sequels or in some cases multiple further adventures, and
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: four-legs
I loved this story. Yeah, it took me awhile to read. In part that's because taking it slow meant savoring it, but I've also been short on reading time lately.

Thanks to GR friend Mike for his inspiring review which led me to finally reading this book about 2 dogs, a cat and their long journey.

When I get the chance, I'll add more to this review. In the meantime, here's what Mike wrote: Mike's review
Nov 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂
I have just become ten years old again!

I sobbed through my reads of this book (& through my viewings of the Disney movie) It didn't matter how many times I read/watched it & that I knew it Would Be All Right in the End, I'd be there with large, gulping sobs. & I kept my whole family awake until I cried myself to sleep. I was a very soft kid though. I wasn't allowed to watch Lassie as I got so upset!

This book is worth all the tears. Burnford tells a wonderf
A three-hundred mile journey through the Canadian wilderness, an area of “ endless chains of lonely lakes and rushing rivers,” where “half the year the country is blanketed with snow; and for weeks at a time the temperature may stay many degrees below zero.”

”This is the country over which the three travelers passed, and it was in the fall that they traveled, in the days of Indian summer.”

The three travelers were Bodger, an old Bull Terrier, Luath, a young red-gold Labrador Retriever, and a S
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
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sheila Burnford's storytelling is great, if she pieced accuracy together and only re-imagined the time between eyewitnesses. She excelled at a complex task. I had a few quibbles. When I visit countries, I use their languages. I enjoy differences, unless they forgo vocabulary that keeps something clear. Sheila emigrated ten years before publishing this. She knew generalizing “property”, “lawn”, “grounds”, “yard” with “garden” does not fly! She referred to John's “garden door” but since a garden i ...more
Natalie Vellacott
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Beware: animal lovers will need tissues!

I don't know why this timeless story of two dogs and a cat just trying to get home should provoke such raw emotion. But it does, every time. The movie Homeward Bound is just as much of a tear-jerker.

You have been warned.
Janete Fabricio ON  SEMI HIATUS
This is an abridged and retold text for people who are learning English. I loved it too much. It's adorable and heartwarming. The book is about a long journey of 2 dogs and a cat returning to their home through wild Canada. ...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
Jun 15, 2013 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 m ...more
Dec 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It really was an incredible journey. This is a classic animal story by Sheila Burnford (1918-1984). The three animals are unforgettable--Tao the Siamese cat, Bodger the old English bull terrier, and Luath the young Labrador retriever. And the story is about their journey across more than 250 miles of Canadian wilderness.
Reading it, I forgot that it was marketed as a children's book, I suppose, because it's short and it's about animals. It was also the basis of a popular Disney film. Reading ab
“He broke into a run, faster and faster, until the years fell away, and he hurled himself towards Peter. And as he had never run before, as though he would outdistance time, Peter was running towards his dog. John Longridge turned away, then, and left them, an indistinguishable tangle of boy and dog, in a world of their own making.”
― Sheila burnford, The Incredible Journey

Any animal lover needs to read this. What a story! Wonderfully written and just so moving.


I gave it a 4 and not a 5
Sep 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sheila Burnford is only remembered for one book, but The Incredible Journey is a classic. The story pours forth like the tranquil flow of a mini waterfall in the forest; the main characters face daunting odds on their quest to reunite with family by crossing three hundred miles of Canadian wilderness, but the task is not impossible. The odyssey presents a question to the reader: how far you would go for your loved ones? It all starts with a simple misunderstanding in the home of John Longridge, ...more
May 15, 2016 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
Mar 01, 2013 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
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so amazing. I love the writer and the characters were brilliant. 🐶🐶🐱 but it didn't reveal their names until like the last five chapters...🙊
This is a story I could see myself writing. Except, my dogs and cat would have names, and would talk to each other. The last chapter was so wonderful I didn't quite know what to rate it... It was really four stars until then. So, five it is! 👏🏼⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Timothy Boyd
Sep 07, 2015 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
Rachel Aranda
If you are a fan of the 1993 Disney movie called Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, which is based off this book, then you are not alone. I love that movie and when I first read this book I expected the book to be exactly like the movie. Ah youth ignorance about how movie versions are not the same as the books their based off of. Anyway, I am surprised to say that I actually liked the movie version better and that rarely happens for me.

There were some things that were in the book that I was
Book Concierge
Digital audio book read by Megan Follows

Three beloved family pets – a young Labrador, an aged bull terrier, and a Siamese cat – head home across 300 miles of wooded and mostly uninhabited territory in Ontario, Canada.

This is a wonderful tale of adventure, friendship, loyalty, teamwork, and kindness. The animals face considerable danger, fight bravely, work together to survive, are fortunate to find a few kind people to help them along, are sometimes separated, but continue with a sense of purp
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
Anyone who has a love of animals will like this tale of the love of 3 animals for each other and most especially for the humans they consider more than life itself.

The animals names are interesting;
Tao-the Siamese cat; path, route, road, choose
Luath- the Labrador retriever; quick, fast, early, soon
Bodger- the English bulldog; a creator of things from found or improvised materials.

It seemed to me that Tao's canniness, Bodger's friendliness and Luath's faithfulness worked together for the group.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I only started to read this bc it was on my bookshelf, and never expected it would be so good. IT WAS SO GOOD PEOPLE!!! LEGIT YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
53 years after I saw the movie as a young child, I finally found the book.

My fondest childhood memories revolve around my two best friends - our Labradors. While their doggy antics (including "retrieving" our neighbour's prize bantams and corralling them ever so gently in our laundry, and "retrieving" everyone else's newspapers almost faster than the newsboy could deliver them) caused my parents so much distress, I only remember them with kind thoughts.

I think any animal lover, young or old, cou
Peter Tillman
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
Re-read (I think) of a book I may have read when it was new(ish)? Or I might be remembering the Walt Disney film adaptation. Regardless, it's nicely done, and the reunion at the end will likely bring a tear to the eye of any pet owner. The author based the story on pets she and her husband owned while living in Canada: a Bull Terrier brought from England; a Siamese cat, whose mutual relationship with the terrier she described as "closer than any other cat-and-dog relationship I had ever seen"; a ...more
catherine ♡
Read for school. I've never been the type of person who likes reading animal narration and this was no different. It was interesting, but also a little roundabout. ...more
Michelle (Sherbet Lemon)
DNF. I tried to push through this one as it's an extremely short middle grade, but I have literally no desire to pick this up and continue reading, so clearly this story is just not for me. If you've ever watched Homeward Bound, it's like that, but in Canada and without any of the animals talking (which is fine, but I think I just really like dialogue?). No dialogue does mean that you're having to read about animals travelling and their behaviours and the things they encounter, which is cool bea ...more
Dish Wanderer
The Incredible Journey – Sheila Burnford
I had heard of the film “Homeward Bound” but did not know that it was inspired by this novel. One of my close friends wanted me to watch the film but somehow we never got around to it. She ended up gifting me the book for Christmas last year and I got to read it only in May 2019. This is one of her favorite books and because it involves animals, I knew I wasn’t going to hate it (if not exactly love it).
The novel is an easy read (I think it is targeted at
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I very much enjoyed this children's book about two dogs and a cat and their journey. They are staying at a friend's home while their owner is out of the country for a couple of months. And they decide that they want to go home -- which turns out to be several hundred miles away! And what an adventure it turns out to be!! Good story, exciting, dramatic in places, and sweet :) ...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

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