Awesome Animal Stories

Staff PicksTakoma Park Library

Awesome Animal Stories

To read alone or share with children

Are you an animal lover?  Here are some great animal reads with something for the youngest to the oldest, or both to share with each other.

What's your Favorite Animal? by Eric Carle is a great introduction for young children to a variety of animals and to various authors and/or illustrators.  As a cat person, Carle's introductory story pulled me right in.  Authors' and illustrators' stories range from sweet, to touching, to laugh out loud funny.

Don't let the children's classification fool you. Owen and Mzee:  The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Isabella Hatkoff is a definite must for all animal lovers and readers who like stories about unlikely animal friendships.  A very touching story that brought tears to my eyes.

James Herriot was one of my favorite authors growing up. James Herriot's Treasury for Children is a wonderful introduction for children. If you enjoy this treasury of animal tales, middle school and older children might enjoy his adult memoir All Creatures Great and Small, which is the first of five books detailing his adventures as a veterinarian.  You can also check out the DVDs by the same title.  

In the children's section, The Tarantula In My PurseAnd 172 Other Wild Pets tells about the unusual pets Newbery medalist Jean Craighead George had. 

One of my favorite early chapter books is Owls in the Familysaid to be Farley Mowat's funniest book. The escapades of Billy, his dog and the two rescued owls are a rare treat for any age animal lover.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is a slightly longer chapter book with very endearing animal characters and can cause tears. This Newbery-award-winning novel tells the story of Ivan (a real gorilla who was kept in a mall) from his point of view.  

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O'Brien is another Newbery winner that makes a great read-a-loud and appeals to a wide age range (Preschool to adult.) In this novel, a widowed mouse turns to super intelligent rats for help when her youngest son is dangerously ill.  

A short, thought-provoking read for older children, The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico takes place in the years leading up to the evacuation of Dunkirk in World War II. It deals with the friendship of a young girl and a lonely, crippled painter and the snow goose that brings them together.