The Incredible Journey

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The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. 1987 Coronet paperback.

The Incredible Journey is a 1961 novel by Sheila Burnford.

The three main characters of The Incredible Journey are Luath, a Labrador; Tao, a Siamese cat; and Bodger, an old Bull Terrier dog who are accidentally left behind by their family while on vacation. Instinct lets them journey 250 miles across the Canadian wilderness. Together, the three house pets face starvation, exposure, and wild animals to make their way home to the family they love.

Publication data[edit]

First published in May 1961, by Hodder and Stoughton, it was first printed in a Coronet edition in 1963. New illustrations, by Masaru Shimizu, were included from at least 1976 (the copyright date for them is 1972).[1]

The most current editions are a hardcover by Delacorte Books for Young Readers. ISBN 0385322798, a mass market paperback by Laurel Leaf ISBN 0440226708, and a chapter book by Dell Yearling ISBN 0440413249.

Film adaptations[edit]

This has been made into two very different films. The 1963 film, The Incredible Journey, stays close to the plot of the original book and the animals do not talk. The 1993 film Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey changed the names and breeds of the animals while keeping the same basic plot. This version features a Golden Retriever named Shadow, an American Bulldog named Chance, and a Himalayan cat named Sassy. It also gave the animals dialog. In the original book, they do not speak. This was followed up by Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco which used the characters from the first Homeward Bound, but had little to do with the original book.


  1. Burnford, Sheila. The Incredible Journey. Toronto: Hodder and Stoughton, 1987.

See also[edit]

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