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Children's books for animal lovers

Do you know a child who loves animals, is a keen conservationist, or just has a really, really big heart? There are lots of wonderful animal fiction books for you to choose from, so we’ve selected some of our favourites to help narrow the field a little for you.
For more recommendations, and to find out just what a great piece of animal fiction can teach children, read author Tom Moorhouse's blog post 'Why is animal fiction important?'

Picture books for animal lovers

Joel Stewart
What would you do if you found tiny dinosaurs living at the bottom of your garden? Make friends with them, of course! That's exactly what Daisy does when she finds a tiny t-rex, mini stegosaurus, and titchy triceratops. A charming, timeless picture book about the joy of making new friends.
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Madeleine Cook, Samara Hardy
Timmy Turkey would love to see Christmas come to Pear Tree Farm. But how can that happen when all his family always vote 'NO'? Timmy leads a brilliant campaign. But how will the animals vote? And how will they escape Farmer Carver's turkey twizzling plans? A funny Christmas caper from the duo who created The Mouse That Cancelled Christmas .
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Activity: Help Timmy Turkey find the path to Santa [PDF]

Corrinne Averiss, Fiona Woodcock
A curious polar bear and lost little girl meet in the snow. Both separated from their mothers they spend the day together. This is a moving story about new friendships, kindness, and courage, featuring beautiful illustrations by Fiona Woodcock - perfect for getting into the festive season.
Find out more or Watch the video

Books for ages 5 - 8

Maria Farrer, Daniel Rieley
Arthur could do with someone to talk to — all he wants is an ordinary day with an ordinary family and an ordinary brother. But when Mister P unexpectedly stumbles through his front door, an interesting and fun new friendship is born. There are times when only a polar bear will do…
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Download amazing polar bear facts! [PDF]

Jane Clarke
Dr KittyCat is always ready with her furry first aid! In Pumpkin the Hamster the little animals are very excited to be joining Dr KittyCat's stargazing outing. When Pumpkin trips over, Peanut the mouse thinks it's just because of the dark. But then Pumpkin can't see the stars through the telescope, either. What could be wrong with him? It's time for Dr KittyCat to investigate.
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Michael Morpurgo
Award-winning children’s writer and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo has gathered his favourite animal stories from around the world (and written one himself!) to create this collection. From Puss in Boots to Peter and the Wolf, there’s a classic story for every bedtime - all beautifully illustrated in colour. A treasure trove of animal delights, chosen by the UK's best-loved storyteller, this sumptuous edition is the perfect gift.
Find out more | Also available in hardback

Michael Bond
From the author of Paddington Bear, Michael Bond’s loveable guinea-pig has been charming readers for over 40 years. With a head full of stories and a nose for adventure, Olga da Polga is a little guinea pig with big ideas. Follow Olga’s escapades as she leaves the pet shop behind in this stunning gift edition with glorious watercolours and silkscreen images from award-winning artist Catherine Rayner. A gift that can be enjoyed by both young and old.
Find out more > | Read extract
See also: Olga da Polga Small Format Gift Edition

Anne Booth, Sophy Williams
Lucy's help is needed when a donkey foal is about to be born. A new arrival, just in time for Christmas! Will she be able to gather everyone together in time? And how can she and her friend, Rosie, raise enough money to help bring the harvest mice back to nearby fields?
Find out more
Read Anne Booth's blog post: Developing empathy through reading
Activity: Make Lucy's Christmas decorations [PDF]

Tom Moorhouse
Mr Toad has the builders in, and they're busy filling Toad Hall with awesome gizmos and gadgets. But there's something odd about them: why don't their bushy tails look quite right? And why are they loading Mr Toad's furniture into their van? Squirrel skulduggery! Greedy weasels! Mr Toad will need help from Teejay, Ratty, and Mo to have a REMOTE chance of defending his home. Can he keep his property safe, or will Toad Hall be in lockdown?
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Read Tom's blog post: Why is animal fiction important?

Books for ages 9+

Tom Moorhouse
Knowing their lives are under threat, Sylvan and his brother and sisters have no choice but to abandon their burrow for ever. Together they set out on an epic journey along the Great River; but with dangers lurking at every turn, will they ever find a safe place to call home?
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Read Tom's blog post: Why is animal fiction important?

Gill Lewis
Joe has always loved the moorlands above his home. But everything has changed since his father died, and the moors are no longer a place of refuge. Now the whole community is divided over the fate of the hen harriers that nest up in the heather – and Joe is stuck right in the middle, with a choice to make, and a huge secret to keep. A gripping and emotionally powerful novel from the award-winning and bestselling author Gill Lewis.
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Read an extract [PDF]

Books for ages 10+

Mimi Thebo
Darcy feels alone in the vast snowy wilderness of Yellowstone National Park, until she comes across a wounded grizzly bear. Their unexpected, yet warm friendship gives Darcy a new lease of life, and gives her the courage to do the extraordinary.
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Mimi Thebo
Jules is an expelled, exiled, failure. Sent away by her mother from a life of luxury in London to live on her aunt's farm halfway across the world, she feels like everyone has given up on her. Until, under the baking Kansas sun, a wild coyote helps her begin to find out who she really is.
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Anna Sewell
Horses, hope, and heartbreak. Follow Black Beauty on the journey of a lifetime. There's hardship and friendship, kindness and cruelty, but above all else, love. This classic helps children understand the importance of consideration of others. What better message for the Christmas season?
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Kenneth Grahame
When Mole leaves his spring cleaning and heads up into the open air, he embarks on a series of exhilarating adventures with his new friends: the laid-back Ratty, the gruff yet kindly Badger and the self-satisfied, irrepressible Mr. Toad. The impulsive Toad leads the friends from one escapade to the next in this classic story of adventure and loyalty.
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Next: Books for adventurers & explorers >