A picture of a several different books that centre around animals on a light purple background with dark stripes

Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)

As most of us know, Alice meets many strange and wonderful creatures in Wonderland after she falls down a rabbit hole. There’s the White Rabbit who is always running late; the grinning Cheshire Cat; the eccentric March Hare; the very tired Dormouse; the somewhat rude Caterpillar as well as a whole host of other animals. There is also Alice’s very own pet kitten Dinah who she loves and talks about very much – ultimately terrifying some of the characters in Wonderland!

Charlotte’s Web by E. B White (1952)

This beloved book tells the story of a piglet named Wilbur, a runt whose life is spared by a caring young girl called Fern. But Wilbur is sent to live at Farmer Zuckerman’s farm, where he learns that he will soon be sent to market. Luckily for Wilbur, he befriends a kind spider named Charlotte, who weaves a web of powerful intervention in order to save the little pig’s life. Capturing the imagination of generations, Charlotte’s Web is a must-read classic.

Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson (1912)

This classic animal tale is based on the true story of a little Skye Terrier who became known in 19th century Edinburgh for guarding the grave of his master for 14 years. Narrated from Bobby the dog’s point of view, we follow him as he adopts a lonely old shepherd known as Auld Jock. The two become inseparable and when Jock passes away, Bobby is devastated. From then on, the faithful pooch spends every night sleeping by his master’s grave, and Bobby’s devotion ultimately changes the lives of the locals around him for the better.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (1900)

Although The Wizard of Oz centres around young Dorothy trying to find her way back home after a cyclone whisks her away to the Land of Oz, she wouldn’t have made it back to Kansas if it weren’t for her faithful and plucky four-legged friend Toto. Did you know, Toto’s exact breed has never been revealed – many believe he is either a Cairn Terrier or a Yorkshire Terrier based on the illustrations in the book. What do you think?

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

Kenneth Grahame's renowned tale of camaraderie and adventure follows the characters Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad as they form friendships and get into all sorts of mischief along the banks of the Thames. Spring is in the air and Mole has found a wonderful new world. There's boating with Ratty, a feast with Badger and high jinx on the open road with that reckless ruffian, Mr Toad of Toad Hall. The four become the firmest of friends, but after Toad's latest escapade, can they join together and beat the wretched weasels?

Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien (1970)

Mrs Frisby is a widowed mouse and mother of four children. Her husband Jonathan was killed by the farmer’s cat leaving Mrs Frisby in charge. Right before the farmer is due to plow the garden where the family lives, her youngest Timothy becomes sick. Normally, Mrs Frisby would take them to their summer home, but Timothy won’t survive the trip. So, on the advice of an owl, she heads to the rosebush where the rats of NIMH live. They have the technology and the intelligence to move Timothy but will they help her?

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (1877)

In one of the most popular animal stories of all time, readers are taught the significance of animal welfare and compassion. Born into a loving home, the handsome horse Black Beauty lives a fine life. When circumstances change, however, Black Beauty is forced to live with cruel people and learns the hardship of gruelling labour. Told through Beauty’s eyes, this story’s message about the relationship between humans and animals continues to endure into the present day.

Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)

A young rabbit called Fiver has a magical ability to see into the future and warns the rest of the warren that they will need to leave their homeland. What follows is a dangerous and exciting adventure to Watership Down, where more trouble awaits the brave group of bunnies. Watership Down is a magical classic that has long captured imaginations with its timeless exploration of themes such as freedom and authority.

Paws and Whiskers chosen by Jacqueline Wilson & Nick Sharratt (2014)

This is the ultimate anthology of cat and dog stories, perfect for any pet lover. Collected by children’s favourite Jaqueline Wilson and illustrated by Nick Sharratt, this adorable edition is packed full of charming animal stories from best-loved authors such as Malorie Blackman, Anne Fine, Lewis Carroll, Dodie Smith, and Philip Pullman. This one-of-a-kind collection of animal adventures is guaranteed to be treasured by canine and feline fans alike!

The Golden Goose by Dick King-Smith (1948)

Farmer Skint and his family are down on their luck on Woebegone Farm. That is until their goose lays a golden egg. From the golden egg, hatches Joy the Golden Goose and soon, Farmer Skint’s family’s fortune begins to change. The Golden Goose is a sweet and magical farmyard yarn ideal for young animal aficionados.

Emmeline and the Plucky Pup by Megan Rix (2018)

From the author of Winston and the Marmalade Cat comes another historical animal adventure. This informative story is set at the turn of the century during the time of the Suffragette movement. Alfie rescues a tiny puppy called Pip and together the double-act plays an important role in the ‘Votes for Women’ campaign. However, it’s not all fun and frolics as Alfie and his canine pal begin to discover the true cost of their fight.

White Fang by Jack London (1906)

Set in the deep snowy wilds of the North-Western territory of Canada, this epic story follows White Fang ­– half dog, half wolf – as he grows up. White Fang leaves behind an idyllic life in the natural landscape as he is separated from his mother and forced to live at a camp under a cruel owner. White Fang is an unforgettable story of redemption and trust, a beautiful story of the wild.

The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop by Clare Balding (2016)

Charlie Bass is a horse-mad 10-year-old who dreams of owning her own pony. So, when she accidentally manages to buy a racehorse, Charlie is thrilled. But there's just one problem – her horse won't gallop! In fact, he won't even leave his stable. Charlie is convinced he has what it takes to be a champion, but can she prove it? This funny animal story by Clare Balding has a great girl-power message at its heart.

The Sheep-pig by Dick King-Smith (1983)

After arriving at Farmer Hoggett’s farm, an orphaned piglet called Babe is taken under the wing of Fly, a kind and worldly sheep-dog. Although Babe can never be a sheep-dog, he learns the tricks of the trade from Fly and proves his worth against all odds. The Sheep-pig is a classic tale of triumph over adversity from Dick King-Smith, one of the most celebrated authors of animal adventures.

Stuart Little by E. B. White (1945)

Stuart Little is born in New York City to a loving and ordinary family of humans. The only difference between Stuart and his family is that he is only two inches high and looks exactly like a mouse. Despite his family’s initial concerns about how Stuart will survive in the human world, he is able to adapt and even help around the house. Stuart’s best friend Margalo is a beautiful songbird but one day she gets wind that the Little’s family cat Snowbell has asked another cat to eat her. Margalo flees leaving Stuart heartbroken, So, the brave little mouse leaves his family and sets off to find her.

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