Megan Rix is the queen of animal stories – from plucky pups to fearless felines, her heroic pets face up to some pretty scary situations: war, fire and being separated from the people they love. These beautifully told stories introduce some of the most important events in history, through the eyes of some incredibly brave animals.

Fearless furry friends

The Great Fire Dogs (2016)

The year is 1666. Woofer, the loveable stray, and Tiger Lily, King Charles II’s pampered pet spaniel, live in London. They come from very different worlds, but they’re the best of friends and when Woofer escapes the palace grounds, Tiger Lily is right behind him. It’s not a great time to be out and about in London though – the city has been hit by the plague and a new danger is on its way. Fire. Can Woofer and Tiger Lily brave the blaze together and get back home safely? 

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

A Soldier’s Friend (2014)

Cats and dogs aren’t really supposed to be friends but puppy Sammy and tabby Mouser’s unlikely partnership won’t be broken by anything, not even the First World War. The two fearless friends are part of a group of brave animals sent to help the soldiers fighting in the trenches. No Man’s Land might seem no place for a pet, but Sammy and Mouser have their friendship to keep them going – and heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

Recommended reading age: 7-9 years old

Animal heroes

The Victory Dogs (2013)

When brother pups Howl and Bark find themselves lost in London’s dark tunnels at the start of the Second World War, a one-eared cat called Sheba helps them learn how to survive. But when the bombs start falling, it’s not long before Howl and Bark get separated. Now they have to find each other again – and in the dark days of the Blitz, they aren’t the only ones who need help.

Recommended reading age: 8-11 years old

The Paw House (2018)

There are lots of animals in the Paw House, an animal sanctuary in the Scottish Highlands owned and run by Hamish’s Aunt Helen. Which would be great if Hamish were an animal lover, but he’s not – at first. When his parents leave him with Aunt Helen at the beginning of summer, he’s never even stroked a dog. The animals see to that though, and soon Hamish is adopting piglets, rescuing puppies and even helping Aunt Helen save the Paw House from an uncertain future.

Recommended reading age: 9-12 years old

Man's best friend

The Hero Pup (2014)

Golden Labrador puppy Patch has a bright future ahead of him. When he’s bigger he’s going to be a helper dog, assisting injured soldiers. He’ll need a lot of help himself to get there though, and 11-year-old Joe is just the right person to set him on the path. When Patch comes into his life Joe is very sad, as he faces his first Christmas without his soldier Dad. In fact, Patch and Joe are both in need of some help, and their friendship could be the answer.

Recommended reading age: 7-9 years old

Echo Come Home (2016)

All Jake wants is a hearing dog, so when he meets stray puppy Echo he is delighted to find that’s exactly what Echo is training to be. When Echo comes to live with Jake, Jake’s confidence grows and grows. Even starting a new school – which is very scary for Jake as his deafness makes him shy – is less frightening with Echo by his side. So, when something terrible happens and Echo and Jake are separated, Jake is determined to find his faithful friend once again. 

Recommended reading age: 9-11 years old

Emmeline and the Plucky Pup (2018)

As the leader of the Suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst is living through a momentous time in history – and so is her ward, Alfie. When Alfie adopts an abandoned puppy called Rascal, they both find themselves delivering messages for the Suffragettes’ Votes for Women campaign. The work can be dangerous, and it’s not long before Alfie and Rascal discover what’s really at stake. This beautifully told story is a great introduction to the Suffragette cause, full of adventure and animal mischief. 

Recommended reading age: 6-9 years old

Purr-fect tales for cat lovers

Winston and the Marmalade Cat (2017)

Nine-year-old Harry would love a pet of his own, but working at his local animal shelter is the next best thing – especially when he stumbles across a very special marmalade cat called Little Houdini and gets to do amazing things like visit Chartwell, home of Winston Churchill. While he’s there, he learns a lot about Winston Churchill’s past and discovers more about a little-known part of the famous Prime Minister’s life: his much-loved pets.

Recommended reading age: 6-9 years old

Florence and the Mischievous Kitten (2019)

This brilliantly evocative story is set in summer 1888. It tells the tale of Florence Nightingale, her much-loved kitten Scamp, and match girl Beth, who finds Scamp after he has run away. A nurse who tended wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale was known as the Lady with the Lamp. She also loved cats, so when Beth returns Scamp to her after finding the courageous kitten wandering about London during a protest march, it marks the beginning of an important friendship.

Recommended reading age: 7-12 years old

Epic journeys on four legs

The Great Escape (2012)

When Robert and Lucy Edwards are evacuated to Devon during the Second World War they are forced to leave their dogs, Buster and Rose, and their ginger tomcat, Tiger, at home in London – and London in the Blitz is no place for animals. When the faithful trio are sent to be put down it seems like hope might be lost, but the plucky pets make a daring escape. But, with danger lurking around every corner, can they make their way across the country and find Lucy and Robert again?

Recommended reading age: 8-11 years old

The Runaways (2015)

This extraordinary tale follows the unlikely journey of a circus elephant called Tara and a loyal collie called Harvey. With Europe in the grip of the First World War, Cullen’s Circus has been forced to close. Tara and her mother Shanti have been separated and, with Tara facing a terrible fate, it’s up to old circus dog Harvey to reunite them. Together, he and Tara make their way across the English countryside, determined to find Shanti before it’s too late.

Recommended reading age: 8-11 years old

The Bomber Dog (2013)

When German Shepherd puppy Grey arrives at the War Dog Training School, he and his trainer, soldier Nathan, soon become inseparable. But with the Second World War raging, there is danger at every turn. When paratrooper Nathan attempts a jump that goes terribly wrong, Grey thinks he might have lost his best friend forever. With the help of another war dog, Wolf, he sets out to find him. Can the two brave bomber dogs travel behind enemy lines and help Nathan?

Recommended reading age: 8-11 years old

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