Little has been written about the intersections of armed conflict and animal bodies, particularly in media for children. In the twenty-first century, we have seen increasing interest in celebrating animals’ wartime contributions, as well as depicting children’s experiences of war and making historical conflicts relevant to contemporary children. Exhibits—including the Imperial War Museum’s “The Children’s War” (2005–2011) and “Once Upon a Wartime: Classic War Stories for Children” (2011–present), David Backhouse’s “Animals in War” memorial in London, and the Australian War Memorial’s 2010 “A is for Animal” exhibit—signal co-evolved interests in vulnerable non-combatants’ observations of armed conflict. Amy Ratelle finds that this attention to childhood and to animals likely contributed to the commercial success of stage and screen adaptations of Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 novel, War Horse. In this chapter, Ratelle extends posthumanist scholarship to examine the role that animal bodies have played, and continue to play, in war-related or combat-themed media for children, including War Horse, the multiplatform Pokémon, and the films Open Season, Over the Hedge, Porco Rosso, and The Incredible Mr. Limpet. By reframing the rhetoric around the inclusion of animals in war-related media, this chapter moves beyond anthropocentric assumptions about human/animal relationships, the civilizing process human children undergo, and the nature of warfare itself.
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Ratelle, A. (2020). Examining Animal Bodies in War-Related Media for Children. In: op de Beeck, N. (eds) Literary Cultures and Twenty-First-Century Childhoods. Literary Cultures and Childhoods. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-32146-8_11
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