Booklist: Animal Stories

Today’s topic is animal stories. These are not our nature lore books (see instead this list) which would be mostly non-fiction but fictional books featuring animals.

To keep things as simple as possible, I divide the books into four ages ranges: preschool to early elementary; elementary; middle years (roughly 5th-8th grades); and teens. Keep in mind that many harder books can be read aloud to younger children and that older ones can still enjoy and get a lot out of easier books.

Favorite Animal Stories

Alexander, Lloyd. The Cat who Wished to be a Man. Alexander is a good author. This one features a cat. Elementary.

Applegate, Katherine. The One and Only Ivan. Cute book about a gorilla. Elementary.

Atwater, Richard. Mr. Popper’s Penguins. A must-read, funny book. Elementary. Often these easier books are good for discussing literary techniques with older children as well. See this post.

Averill, Esther. Fire Cat. An older author. Early elementary. She has another cat club series which may be good too.

Avi. Poppy (series). Avi is a one-named and very prolific author. This series is about animals. Elementary-middle years.

Banks, Lynne. Harry the Poisonous Centipede. From the author of The Indian in the Cupboard. Elementary.

Barklem, Jill. Brambley Hedge (series). Sweet stories. Elementary.

Bearn, Emily. Tumtum and Nutmeg (series). More sweet stories. Elementary.

Bond, Michael. Olga De Polga. Bond is better known for the Paddington books which are wonderful but we really loved this lesser-known volume. Elementary.

Brooks, Walter R. Freddy the Pig (series). We loved this older series about a detective pig. Elementary-middle years.

Burgess, Thornton. Burgess has too many books to list. The ones I am thinking of here have titles like The Story of . . .  and then an animal’s name. They are great first chapter books for kids to read.   The Animal Book and The Bird Book are harder. Early elementary-elementary.

Burnford, Sheila. The Incredible Journey. Classic animal adventure story. Elementary-middle years.

Byars, Betsy. Little Horse. Byars os prolific and I don’t love all her books but some are sweet. Elementary.

Cleary, Beverly. Ralph Mouse  (series), Socks, Henry and Ribsy (series). I am not a fan of the more famous Ramona books but I like these from Cleary. Elementary-middle years.

Dahl, Roald. The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Dahl’s books are wonderful. Elementary.

de Brunhoff, Jean. Babar (series). I love the Babar the elephant picture books. Look for the older ones by the original author. Early elementary.

DiCamillo, Kate. Because of Winn DixieThe Tale of Desperaux, and Mercy Watson (series). About a dog, a mouse, and a pig respectively. The Mercy Watson books are on the easier end. Elementary-middle years.

Estes, Eleanor. Ginger Pye (series). My daughter loved these books featuring a dog. Elementary-middle years.

Goudge, Elizabeth. The Little White Horse. We loved this one. Middle years.

Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows. A classic. Elementary.

Henry, Marguerite. Henry has so many horse books I couldn’t possibly list them all. Elementary-middle years.

Horvath, Polly. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny (series). Cute books from an author we really enjoyed. Elementary.

Ibbotson, Eva. One Dog and His Boy. Ibbotson has a number of books. Elementary-middle years.

King-Smith, Dick. One of the most prolific authors. Most famous for Babe on which the pig movie is based. His books are great chapter books for those just getting into longer things. Elementary.

Lawson, Robert. Rabbit Hill, The Tough Winter, et. al. Lawson has lots of great books, often featuring animals. Elementary-middle years.

Lisle, Janet Taylor. Dancing Cats of Applesap and Highway Cats. Older author. Elementary-middle years.

Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad (series), Mouse SoupOwl at Home, et. al. Classic easy readers with a fair amount of depth. Early elementary.

Lofting, Hugh. Doctor Dolittle (series). Everyone should read these classic books. Elementary-middle years.

London, Jack. Call of the Wild and White Fang. Classic dog stories. Middle years.

Marshall, James. George and Martha (series) and Yummers. I loved Yummers when I was little. Picture books. Early elementary.

McCloskey, Robert. Make Way for Ducklings. Classic picture book. All McCloskey’s books are wonderful. Early elementary.

Minarik, Else. Little Bear (series). These are some of my favorite easy readers. Early Elementary.

Moskin, Marietta. Lysbet and the Fire Kittens. An older book. I think it is early elementary level.

Mowat, Farley. Owls in the Family. Elementary.

Naidoo, Beverly. The Great Tug of War. Fable-like stories about animals. Elementary.

Naylor, Phyllis. Shiloh (series). Good books featuring a dog. Elementary-middle years.

North, Sterling. Rascal and Wolfing, et. al. I love North’s books. Many are more towards nature lore (meaning non-fiction). Elementary-middle years.

Orwell, George. Animal Farm. Classic dystopian novel, but actually fairly accessible to kids. We used Animal Farm as part of our literature study (see here). Middle years+.

Peck, Richard. The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail. Elementary-middle years.

Salten, Felix. Fifteen Rabbits. From the author of Bambi. Early elementary-elementary.

Seidler, Tor. A Rat’s Tale. Elementary-middle years.

Selden, George. Chester Cricket (series). A Cricket in Times Square is his most famous but did you know there is a whole series of books featuring Chester Cricket and Harry Cat? They are all good too. Elemantary level.

Selfors, Suzanne. Smells Like Dog. My daughter liked these books. I believe there is a series. Elementary-middle years.

Sewell, Anna. Black Beauty (series). The first one in particular is a must read horse story. Middle years.

Slobodkin, Louis. Gogo the French Sea Gull. A great older writer. Elementary.

Stratton-Porter, Gene. Laddie. Older dog book. Middle years.

White, E.B. Charlotte’s Web and Trumpet of the Swan. I am not as big a fan of his other books but Charlotte’s Web is wonderful. Elementary-middle years.

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] today with booklists I have put together over the years. So far we looked at adventure stories and animal stories.  Today’s topic is the life of boys, those books which depict a boy’s life and/or in […]


  2. […] read as a family and I have been slowly writing them up for you. We have had adventure stories and animals stories, girls’ books and boys’ books (you can find all my lists of living books here). But […]


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