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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

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 votes '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.
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Video: Watch A Dot in the Snow

Books for ages 5–8

Anne Booth
Lucy's made friends with a little kitten called Star, but when they get lost in a snowstorm Lucy's magic snow globe is their only hope. Close your eyes and wish for a Christmas miracle!
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Activity: Search the maze for Little Star [PDF]

Philip Reeve, Sarah McIntyre
Kevin the flying pony blows in on a magical storm and – DOOF! – crashes into the balcony outside Max's flat. As the storm waters rise and the town is besieged with creatures, Max and Kevin set about putting things right. There's nothing this heroic duo can't achieve!
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Activity: Make your own comic [PDF]
Activity: Create your own legendary pet [PDF]

Joshua Davidson, Buzz Burman
When Will accidentally creates a mysterious portal during a trip to the zoo, he’s transported into the world of the Night Zoo and thrust into an incredible adventure. The animals look to Will to save them, but does he have the strength to overcome his fears, and become the hero that the Night Zoo needs?
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Book extra: Meet the characters [PDF]
Activity: Create your own magical animal [PDF]
Activity: Write your own adventure story [PDF]

Maria Farrer, Daniel Rieley
There are times when only a polar bear will do… When Mister P crash lands (literally!) into Ruby's life, she really doesn't have the time to deal with him. Her life is complicated enough trying to look after mum, baby brother Leo, AND go to school. Mister P simply cannot stay… but how do you persuade a polar bear to leave?
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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.
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Also available: Hardback edition

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.
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Book extra: Read an extract
Also available: Small Format Gift Edition

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?
Find out more >
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?
Find out more >
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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Book extra: 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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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 considering 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 >