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The Incredible Journey

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  44,877 ratings  ·  854 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 King An "indian summer" refers to a time of the year in Canada in autumn when warmer weather lingers into the fall season.
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…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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Mike
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
...more
karen
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
...more
Lori
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.
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
Duane
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
Ron
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
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
MaryG2E
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
...more
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.
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
...more
Sheila
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'
...more
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
...more
LunaLovegood
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Ava
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! 👏🏼⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
...more
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
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
C.
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
Tracey
Jul 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nicole
Mar 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone, especially people who love animals
Amazing book!
I had read this as a kid but remembered little about it. It is heartwarming to the core. I love the voice of the author and every bit of the story. I cried at the end. So so amazing.
Terris
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 :)
Sydney Chapters
Dec 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic, children, library
I watched the movie first. I didn't even know that this was a book until this year. Haha. I was (and still am) in love with the movie as a kid. I would constantly re-watch it. There were differences that confused me since I know the movie's version more than the book. For example, the old dog is not as wise as the young dog as much as he is in the movie; the cat is a boy in the book; the young dog is wise and not hyper/ "annoying"; some events were different or added; but the big difference is t ...more
Lauren
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
I have nothing sophisticated to offer here. I just wanted to spend a little sliver of time curled up with a warmhearted book where a cat and two dogs walked through Canada and helped each other in a reasonably believable but also cozy fashion. I don't think I've read this since I was twelve or so, and it made for a nice comfort read, especially since (view spoiler)

This is a chi
...more
Amanda
Jul 28, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Paul
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 doggie 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, co
...more
Kivrin
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of my fave books as a kid. I've read it many times.

And again, one of my fave books. It's a spare little book that tells a great story. The descriptions are wonderful. You feel like you are in the wilderness with these animals. And the characters are wonderful as well. The author does a great job of bringing the dogs and cat to life without ever naming them (except at the end) or turning them into cartoons. I was watching my cat while I was reading, and she acts just like the cat in the book!
...more
Stephanie - Adventures Thru Wonderland
What an incredible story! I first learned about this book years ago when I received the movie 'Homeward Bound' as a very young child, and later watched the original movie. I am only now getting around to reading the book that started it all, but I knew long before that it would quickly become a favorite! I wasn't wrong, it's just as good as I remember the movies being, and will be a story I look forward to sharing! An ageless tale about a trio of pets, and the longing they have to return home, t ...more
Andrew
Mar 30, 2016 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.
momma.hailey
Mar 14, 2015 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.
Allison
Nov 14, 2014 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...
Jessica
Sep 30, 2015 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.
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25 followers
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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