National Animal Cracker Day

National Animal Crackers Day - Doodlewash and watercolor of Barnum's Animal Crackers box in red

Today is the day to celebrate that old-fashioned treat of edible miniature animals in a box with National Animal Cracker Day (also called National Animals Crackers Day). In 1902, these crackers were dubbed “Barnum’s Animals” in honor of that most popular circus and since that time over 54 different animals have been depicted. Though more cookie than cracker as they are not something you’d think to top with cheese, they’ve been a bit hit for years. Looking at the original packaging now, though, I feel sorry for those poor animals crammed into small cages. The current packaging puts the bars behind the animals so its like you’re in the cage with them, which really isn’t much better.

But it was a fun memory of childhood to get a box of these as it was like having your own personal cookie jar you could carry around. The little box with a string was originally just a marketing gimmick for the first Christmas season to suggest them as ornaments. The little holiday boxes sold for five cents back then and were so popular they’ve stuck around until this day. I liked this brand best because of the extra little details, which came around 1958 when they changed the production method to include more intricate dies. I’m not a fan of the other brands that look all undefined and bloated, like they already have the diabetes they’re about to give you.

As a kid I used to love digging through the box to see which animals were there. Before you knew it, monkey would be having quite a conversation with elephant, as tiger laid there looking on nearby. They were all friends in this miniature cracker world, so the tiger was not getting ready to pounce. He was just waiting for his turn in the conversation since I only had two hands. Once all the animals had met each other, they would then join in an awkward little parade that resembled the world’s worst stop motion movie as they were lined up and shoved slowly across the table. Worse still, is that this movie had the same horrific ending each time. I would then bite their little heads off and eat them. The End.

Join me any and all days you like during April by celebrating a National or International Day with a doodlewash! Tag your image #doodlewashaday and I’ll feature everyone who played along on at the end of the month! 

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Gamboge, Azo Orange, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Jodi 6 years ago

    Oh I love these! You did the box so well! You simply amaze me every day mr. charlie 0!!! simply amaze me!!!

  2. Susan Feniak 6 years ago

    Exact how I remember them. Yay! Charlie! 🙂

  3. artandmoondreams 6 years ago

    Wonderful painting, the box looks ready to be carried away…along with the cookies of course.

    • Author

      Hehe…it was such a fun little box when I was a kid. Thinking I need to get some more! Thanks so much, Haunani!! 💕😃

  4. Sand Salt Moon 6 years ago

    Just fabulous!

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    What a wonderful memory. I’m with you all the way, from the box to the crackers to the way I ate them. Still love them and they apparently love me, considering the way they hand around my middle – and other parts. Your art is perfect, Charlie.

    • Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

      Ugh! Supposed to be HANG around my middle. Incorrect spelling did nothing for my belly roll.

      • Author

        Lol… I figured that was the word. I misspell my comments all the time. Usually end up saying things like, “Thanks, my fiend!”😊

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon!! 💕😃 hehe…yeah…I have a lot of these childhood loves that don’t love my waistline anymore. But can’t let a little thing like that stop us from enjoying the good things in life! Lol

  6. Jacob 6 years ago

    Oh, so jealous of these – never sampled them. Awesome stuff – the box looks almost as special as the crackers! They certainly look more fun than Jacob’s Cream Crackers! Wasn’t it awful when you got cute animal-shaped foods, though? Perhaps that was just me. I remember one year having an adorable duck Easter egg… I couldn’t eat it, or at least, not for a while. 😉 I’m sure it’d have been the same with these.

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob!! Unlike Citrus Polos…these still exist!! Add it to your bucket list to try one day. It would go great with all those movies I’ve instructed you to watch! Lol Yeah…I always had a little hesitation when it came to animal shaped foods, but the love of food always won out! 😊hehe

      • Jacob 6 years ago

        I’m not sure if these are available over here though. It could be that they may as well be in sweet heaven with the Polos. I’ll have to have a look!

        Haha, same here! Chocolate/biccies beat cute happy animal – sad in a way, but I think it the right decision in the end 😉

  7. Jill Kuhn 6 years ago

    Love how you painted the details on the box, Charlie! I see all these animal crackers still have their heads! Phew! 😉 I loved these as a kid too and still do now but I rarely think to buy them. Thanks for the smile today! 🙂

    • Author

      Hehe…I almost took the head off of one of them, but as an adult I just couldn’t bring myself to do it! 😊 Glad ya like this one, Jill!! 💕😃

  8. Nancy 6 years ago

    Good memories! Love the bright colors on the box.

  9. Carol 6 years ago

    I remember that box so well. You painted it perfectly! I am glad to hear that the cookies still have details on them and agree that the others are quite bloated. I think I will buy a box next grocery trip for old time’s sake 😊

  10. Teresa Robeson 6 years ago

    Hahaha…”like they already had the diabetes they’re about to give you” is just the most awesome line next to the horrific ending one! You are so funny and so good at making food look good! 💙😆

    • Author

      Hehe… When you quote me I often think…ohhh…I said that??! 😊 I just sort of type whatever comes to mind. Lol Glad you liked the outcome and the doodlewash, Teresa!! 💕😃

  11. debiriley 6 years ago

    Charlie, Charlie, Charlie!! this has to be one of the funniest posts you’ve done! I loved it!! and your last 3 sentences were fire Crackers!
    wonderfully done 🙂

    • Author

      Lol! Thanks Debi!! 💕😃Glad you enjoyed this one. It’s been awhile since I’ve told personal stories so it was fun to reminisce! So glad you liked the post!

      • debiriley 6 years ago

        it certainly adds to the charm, and fun and “Charlie -ness” of your posts!!!

        • Author

          Awww…you’re too sweet! 😊

          • debiriley 6 years ago

            what what the grandson says when I say Gramma has “RULES” ! lol

          • Author

            Lol… Awww come on Gamma… ditch the rules and pass the cookies!! 😉

          • debiriley 6 years ago

            meet the grandkids… and you’ll soon understand the utter NEED for rules. Lord have mercy! they are shockers. and I love them 🙂

  12. Sharon Mann 6 years ago

    Animal crackers have been around forever! Beautiful doodlewash, Charlie. And don’t forget Shirley Temple and Animal Crackers in my Soup

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Sharon!! 💕😃 And who could ever forget Shirley Temple and that song! Hehe… now of course, it will be stuck in my head all night! Lol

  13. circadianreflections 6 years ago

    OMG! Your doodlewash is so good I can almost smell and taste them! I loved them as a girl.

  14. Snehal Kank 6 years ago

    Oh Charlie I love this one too😍 you did great job with box! Perspective, lights, shadows everything just perfect !

    • Author

      Awww thanks Snehal! 💕😃That’s so sweet of you to say. The perspective was so tricky on this one I felt like I was getting confused! Lol Glad you liked it!!

      • Snehal Kank 6 years ago

        No no you were wrong! your observation power is really strong.. We can see that in almost every illustration you paint 👍🏼🎨 😍

  15. Oh yes, memories of birthday parties, I had forgotten about these. ( so sorry I have not been able to join in, my dad has been poorly, and now in hospital having had a heart attack, my paintings look like scribbles at the mo! But I am really enjoying all the examples people are coming up with for doodlewashaday. 😀

  16. YesterdayAfter 6 years ago

    Can I have a cracker Please? <3 Oh Charlie they looks so real and I love the box it is just perfect! Awesome work! 😉

  17. memadtwo 6 years ago

    I love how all these doodlewashes bring back great memories…I used to play with those animals before eating them too! Your box is perfect. (K)

    • Author

      Thanks so much Kerfe!! 😃💕These were a definite favorite…just wasn’t sure at first if I was brave enough to try sketching the box. 😊 glad I did!

  18. Oh I loved these so much! Loved biting off the heads too! Beautiful job with this painting, Charlie. Love the dimensionality and wonderful details! 😘😘😘

    • Author

      Thanks so much Laura!! 😃💕 These really were the best treat ever!! Hehe… I still love them, and have to resist the urge to play with them first. 😊lol

  19. Love it Charlie! You captured them perfectly. It reminds me of when my kids were much smaller. It was like giving them a box of fun – from the packaging, to the animal shapes. Usually kept them happy while I filled the shopping cart 😀

    • Author

      Thanks Eileen!! 💕😃 So happy you liked this! And perfect description! It was totally a box of fun!! It’s not surprising really to think they’ve been around for over a hundred years. Hehe

  20. Teri C 6 years ago

    Memories! Thanks for the memories with this wonderful sketch.

  21. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    Thanks for reminding me of some wonderful memories of these cookies. Amazing detail in the painting.

  22. t. l. cummings 5 years ago

    Great memory. Thank you for bringing it back to me.

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