Furry Boarding School

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Furry Boarding School
An illustration from the magazine version (1984), featuring Lucy, six of her furry pupils (the cow does not count, it is an ordinary beast) and two adult anthropomorphic animals.
The 1989 book was illustrated by the same artist, and the design of most characters was retained.

Author Eduard Uspensky
Cover Artist Victor Chizhikov
Original Title Меховой интернат
Translator (none?)[1]
Country Russia
Language Russian
Genre(s) Fairy tale
Publisher Detskaya literatura (Moscow)
Release Date 1989
Media Type print, hardcover, color
Pages 158
ISBN 5-08-000764-8

Furry Boarding School (Russian: Меховой интернат [mehovoy internat]) is a children’s story by Eduard Uspensky. First published in the Murzilka magazine in 1984 as a short story entitled Девочка-учительница (~ Little Teacher Girl), then significantly expanded and issued as a book in 1989.

The plot centers around a 10-year-old schoolgirl named Lucy and a group of friendly anthropomorphic animals – an adult badger and his pupils (a huge anteater, a shy chipmunk, an ermine boy named Snow Queen, a mischievous jerboa and many more) – who have ventured upon establishing contact with the human civilization after years of hiding.

It is worth noting that the author utilizes the adjective меховой [mehovoy] (“furry”) not only in its literal meaning, as in “covered with fur” (e.g. “furry paw”), but also in the context of any event or phenomenon related to anthro animals (e.g. “furry concert”, “furry language”, “furry age scale”). However, it seems to be a mere coincidence: it is unlikely that the Soviet writer could have been familiar with the furry subculture back then in 1980s. Besides, the word меховой, despite being the exact translation of “furry”, is not used by Russian-speaking furries, they say either пушистый [pusheesty] (“fluffy”) or фурри [foory] (a mispronunciation of “furry”) instead.

Although the book is meant for elementary-school kids, it contains some satirical references to the Soviet realia that can be understood by adults only (the original magazine version did not have any). Moreover, it problematizes nonacceptance of highly developed animals by the human society (fear, disbelief, aggression on the part of poachers, etc.) and thus may be of interest to the furry fandom.

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  1. According to the author’s website, there are no official translations of Mehovoy internat into English, nor into any other languages. It is unknown whether fan translations have been performed elsewhere.