The Incredible Journey Book Poster Image

The Incredible Journey



A clever story and evocative writing.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Loyalty, devotion, and the courage to undertake what seems impossible binds the three and ensures their survival.

Positive role models

Two dogs and a cat serve as examples of the power of love, devotion and faith.


Two fairly graphic wild-animal deaths. Animals attack the pets several times. Constant possibility of death by starvation, predation, or other wilderness hazards.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that a clever story and evocative writing will keep animal lovers and adventure fans turning the pages.

What's the story?

Two dogs and a cat trek through hundreds of miles of Canadian wilderness to rejoin their family after a caretaker misundertands her instructions and accidentally forsakes them, in this lovely, gentle, and understated tale.


Is it any good?


Kids love survival novels because they identify with the characters and feel powerful and independent right along with the protagonists; the treat here is that the characters are animals. And they act like real animals. These are not the usual talking animals in fetching outfits -- nothing in this book seem impossible for real-life cats and dogs.

The author, who knows animals intimately, conveys their wordless communication -- encouraging each other through eye contact and body language, mourning a companion who is assumed lost, or sharing the spoils of a hunt. There's plenty of action here, but like the animal's personalities, it's not over-the-top. Kids can easily imagine that they're crossing vast swaths of unpopulated land, and long stretches of quiet, forlorn beauty are punctuated by occasional terror, mishap, or joy. But readers who favor constant action over a story based on setting and mood may find the book slow going.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about loyalty. Do you think the story is realistic?

  • If you have pets, how do you feel toward them?

  • How do you think they feel toward you?

Book details

Author:Sheila Burnford
Illustrator:Carl Burger
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 1, 1961
Number of pages:148
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 12 year old Written byJ.L.D October 30, 2009

Tweens is Good

I think this book, personally is ah_mazing. I just love it. It has changed my life
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Kid, 10 years old May 13, 2009

Liked this book.

My favorite part is when Tao attacks the bear.
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

a must read book for every 12 tear and old

i realy enjoyed reading this book. but i think it is too high of a leavel for kids age 8 to 11 years of age.