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Animal stories for older readers

Book cover of The Ice Bear Miracle

Enjoy some of our favourite books about animals for older children, from Michael Morpurgo's War Horse to Eva Ibbotson's One Dog and His Boy.

These chapter books are perfect for engaging children who love animals, with something for everyone from reluctant readers to those reading above their age level. 

  • Saving Winslow

    Author: Sharon Creech
    Publisher: Guppy Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Louie takes on the challenge of saving Winslow the baby donkey, but can he let Winslow go when the time is right?

  • Snow Foal

    Author: Susanna Bailey
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    When her alcoholic mother is unable to take care of her, 11-year-old Addie moves in with a long-term foster family on a remote working farm. However, desperate to return to her mum, Addie is determined that she will not stay for long.

  • A Boy's Best Friend

    Author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Cathy Fisher
    Publisher: Graffeg
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 7+

    One of a series of standalone stories about children growing up in the countryside by Nicola Davies and illustrated in pencil by Cathy Fisher, A Boy’s Best Friend is a fantastic, short read about an outdoorsy boy who loves animals but finds school difficult. 

  • The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

    Author: Nizrana Farook
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Against the backdrop of a stunning South Asian landscape, three youngsters are on the run from the King’s guards – on an elephant! With themes of morality, friendship, teamwork and loyalty, this exciting adventure book also has lots of tension and jeopardy.

  • Lizzie and Lucky: The Mystery of the Missing Puppies

    Author: Megan Rix Illustrator: Tim Budgen
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6+

    When Lizzie spots a suspicious man stealing a puppy from a garden, she's determined to investigate! An engaging illustrated early reader book, this is the first in the series to feature Lizzie (who is deaf) and Lucky the dog.

  • The Ice Bear Miracle

    Author: Cerrie Burnell
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    As a child, Marv Jackson survived a polar bear attack on a frozen river - and when he hears about ice skater Tuesday and Promise, her skating polar bear, he's sure he knows them both from somewhere. Full of magic and snowy mystery, Cerrie Burnell's beautiful story spins legend and real life into a fairy tale of family and belonging.

  • An Otter Called Pebble

    Author: Helen Peters Illustrator: Ellie Snowdon
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Friends Jasmine and Tom spot a baby otter alone on the riverbank and decide to help and name her Pebble. This heartwarming tale of hope, kindness and determination will delight young independent readers with an interest in wildlife. 

  • War Horse

    Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Francois Place
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    Steven Spielberg enjoyed this story so much, he turned into a film. Joey is a young farm horse, sold to the army at the beginning of the First World War. Through his eyes, the reader experiences the devastation of the Western Front, his capture by Germans and  entrapment in No Man's Land.

  • The Sheep-Pig

    Author: Dick King-Smith Illustrator: Mike Terry
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 6+
    Reading age: 7+

    When Farmer Hogget wins a piglet at the fair, he is amazed that Fly, his sheep-dog, welcomes him as one of her own pups.

  • The White Giraffe

    Author: Lauren St John Illustrator: David Dean
    Publisher: Hachette
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 10+

    Devastated by her parents' death, Maxine is sent to South Africa and a grandmother she didn't know existed. When she glimpses the legendary white giraffe one night, the connection between them is instantaneous.

  • One Dog and His Boy

    Author: Eva Ibbotson Illustrator: Sharon Rentta
    Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 8+

    All Hal wants for his birthday is a dog and when he is given one he is overjoyed. But when Hal realises Fleck was only his for the weekend, he sets off on an adventure with the dog...

  • The One Dollar Horse

    Author: Lauren St John
    Publisher: Orion Children's Books
    Interest age: 11+
    Reading age: 10+

    Casey Blue lives with her father in a tower block in Hackney, London , but despite her urban existence, she dreams of one day becoming an equestrian champion.

  • White Dolphin

    Author: Gill Lewis
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Interest age: 11+
    Reading age: 11+

    A young dolphin, washed up on the beach, unexpectedly brings Kara and Felix together. But the new friends must take on new challenges - finding out the truth about Kara's missing mother, and protecting the bay when it falls under threat.

  • Tilly's Moonlight Fox

    Author:
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 8+

    This sensitively-written story with a touch of time-travel magic has a flavour of classic children's books such as The Secret Garden and Tom's Midnight Garden.