We know that children love to read and listen to stories with animals in them. But why do animal themed picture books appeal to your little ones?
Animal characters in picture books can often represent humans but in a softer way, presenting ideas, emotions, and situations that children can identify with in a gentler and more forgiving environment.
The message within the story can also be more engaging when presented alongside animal characters, whether they have human-like animals as the main character such as Francie in Otters vs Badgers or animals who interact with humans, such as the seagull in Stella and the Seagull.
There’s also an educational theme, that allows children to learn about the natural world through the animals, as in the Animal Academy series which includes non-fiction information alongside the story such as Baby Koala.
We’ve put together a hand-selected list of our animal themed titles, ideal for young animal lovers. From seals, to koalas, to pigeons, to pandas, and more, dive into our picture book selection for children below.
Ideas for Animal themed picture books
Please note that all links will take you to Amazon.co.uk
The otters and the badgers live on either side of the river, but they have never seen eye to eye. Neither group can cross to the opposite riverbank. But one day shy otter-baker Francie accidentally ventures into the badger lands in search of a new ingredient. As the two sides begin arguing again, she has unwittingly set off a new chapter in their ongoing feud. But maybe Francie’s stunning new cookies-otter-baked but with badger-territory ingredients-may finally help them learn to get along…
Fiona Woodcock / Corrinne Averiss
Chi is a panda who loves to listen. Being silent brings sounds to her ears: the swish of bamboo, the chitter of birds, and then one day, a new sound, gentle and sweet.
The sound leads Chi to a boy, who blows breath through a piece of bamboo. Chi is enchanted and longs to make friends, but she is shy and hides instead. As the boy searches for Chi and mist gathers in the forest, she must find the courage to help him-even if it means being seen . . .
Alba the young albatross leaves her nest to set out on her life’s journey. But when a huge wave knocks her from the sky and breaks her wing, she is left all alone on an icy shore . . .
But then a penguin appears, followed by another and another, until the whole colony is at Alba’s side. Among her new friends, Alba’s spirits are quickly lifted and, through the long, dark winter, her wing slowly mends. When the sun finally appears over the horizon, Alba is at last able to fly again, but she never forgets the kindness she was shown at the heart of the penguin huddle.
Wendy Meddour / Carmen Saldana
Peggy is an apologetic pigeon. She always assumes she’s in the wrong. Even when she’s the one getting bullied.
But Cynthia, an older female seagull, gives her the necessary skills to stand up for herself. This hilarious tale from award-winning author Wendy Meddour contains an important message about the importance of being assertive.
Wendy Meddour / Carmen Saldana
Howard thinks he’s the most exceptional creature in the rainforest-that’s because no other creature is as exceptionally camouflaged as him! But when he learns that the rainforest is full of other camouflaged creatures, he begins to wonder: ‘Who will like me if I’m just . . . an average gecko?’
Thankfully Howard meets Dolores (another average gecko) and he discovers that you don’t have to be exceptional to be loved-and those that love you will never think you’re average at all.
Noah waits all day for Nana’s boat to be ready so that they can go seal spotting. He waits and waits, and eventually takes matters into his own hands, building his very own seal out of sand-it’s almost as good as the real thing.
But it isn’t long before a storm whips up, his seal is washed away, and Nana packs up ready to leave. Noah loses all hope that he’ll ever spot a real-life seal, until something special happens
Georgina Stevens / Izzy Burton
Spurred into action when her seagull friend gets poorly from eating plastic, young Stella is soon on a campaign for change.
A beach clean up and plastic straw ban sparks her whole community into action and soon Stella is making a big impact. And it’s not long before the little seagull and all its animal friends can live in a better environment.
Anne Rooney / Qu Lan
Baby Koala likes to stay close to Mum as the pair snuggle up together, safe in the treetops. But one day, when danger threatens, Baby Koala must be brave and bold…
This heartwarming story about an animal family living in the wild has big flaps to open and koala facts to discover.