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

National Animal Cracker Day

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

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58 thoughts on “National Animal Cracker Day

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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

      1. 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 😉

  3. 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! 🙂

  4. 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 😊

  5. 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! 💙😆

  6. 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. 😀

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