Are you a fan of Animals books? Check out all our Animals book reviews, read extracts and compare prices.
In a nutshell: gentle, heart-warming story of a little girl and her puffin Christmas is coming but Polly can’t seem to get in the right mood: Neil her puffin friend is preoccupied with his girlfriend who is hatching their egg, and when she and her mum make a special trip from their island home to Edinburgh to see Father Christmas, Polly takes the wrong list with her and then loses her puffin toy. Jenny Colgan understands all the ups and downs of being a child, and how frustrating it is when nothing is really in your control, and describes it very well here. Fortunately, reading the Christmas story with her mother cheers Polly up and then on Christmas day, the puffling hatches. With its short text, lively adventure and charming illustrations this is particularly good for newly confident readers, but lovely for sharing too. ~ Andrea Reece
The Twelve Days of Christmas is an important element of the Christmas celebrations and Anna Wright’s version is beautiful, original and witty. From the gorgeous partridge gazing out at us on the first page, bird and pears on the tree both embellished with gold brocade, to the twelve woodpeckers drumming on the trees in a snowy wood, animals feature for every one of the lines. Perhaps my favourite is the fifth day, when five handsome frogs twirl gold rings, or the eighth day, illustrated by a sow feeding her eight piglets. Young children will enjoy talking about the animals but this is full of appeal for older children and adults too. ~ Andrea Reece
Hear the best-selling book The Bear and the Piano come to life with this special gift-edition sound book. A young bear cub finds a piano in the forest and after a first hesitant ‘PLONK’, he returns to it every day for years until he has grown strong, and the sounds that he makes on the piano are melodic and beautiful. The other bears love listening to him but one day a girl and her father overhear his concert and persuade him to go with them to the city and play in front of thousands. Swapping the tranquillity of the forest for the bright lights of Broadway brings the bear fame, but he misses his friends and decides to return to play again for the most important audience of all. It’s a beautiful story, and illustrates perfectly the effect of music on performer and audience. Litchfield’s illustrations are very special indeed: he plays beautifully with light and shade, in both the forest and concert hall scenes, to create atmosphere and to illuminate his hero and his message. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: unforgettable Christmas with mini-dragons It’s Christmas and Eric is going to have an exciting day: he’s woken up early by Pan, the mini-dragon who lives in his sock-drawer, and they discover that Pan’s parents have arrived unexpectedly to spend Christmas with their son, so that makes three mini-dragons in the house… Then, thanks to trouble at the airport (which might just have something to do with the dragons), Eric’s friends and neighbours arrive for Christmas too, including the thoroughly awful Toby. Anything could happen, and probably will. The action is fast, funny but firmly rooted in family life and friendship, while Sarah Horne’s illustrations of dragons and humans alike catch the tone perfectly. This series will keep the ho-ho-ho going long after Christmas. ~ Andrea Reece One to recommend to fans of Guy Bass and Josh Lacey’s Dragonsitter series.
In a nutshell: warm-hearted animal story set on a proper farm These sweet little stories are perfect for animal-mad youngsters and filled with useful information about how to care for pets. When friends Jasmine and Tom find an abandoned kitten they know they need to look after it. As Jasmine’s mum is a vet she can give them lots of advice on how to do this and soon the kitten, called Holly, is thriving. Jasmine loves Holly very much but as Christmas approaches she has to make the brave and generous decision to give Holly to someone who really needs her. A typically well-written and convincing story in this excellent series which has lots to appeal for young readers, particularly those who dream of living on a farm. ~ Andrea Reece The Editor at Nosy Crow says: “This series is going to be a classic. It’s beautifully written with clever plotting and proper animal adventure. Life as a farm vet’s daughter shows Jasmine that nature is not always kind and life-and-death situations are never far away. But what cute animals! And what great stories!”
In a nutshell: warm, inspiring animal story When Isabelle comes face to face with a beautiful snow leopard in her local zoo an amazing adventure begins. She goes to bed tucked up with her snow leopard toy but wakes up in a ger, a Mongolian yurt. Only the little girl of the family can see her and they quickly become friends. Odval takes Isabelle up into the mountains and shows her a family of snow leopards. Odval loves them but her family want them gone because they are preying on their sheep. Can the girls protect the leopards? This is a lovely story of friendship starring some of the most beautiful animals on the planet; readers will be inspired to find out more about snow leopards and how they can help them survive in the wild. ~ Andrea Reece
Whether as villains in fairy stories or heroes of ancient myth, wolves have a special role in our imaginations, and this handsome information book will further inspire and intrigue the young. Inviting readers to decide whether wolves are “beautiful or bloodthirsty”, it describes their lives in great detail, from pack life and behaviour to physical appearance as well as facts on geographical distribution, food and how they raise their young. It acknowledges our fear and fascination but gives readers real insight into wolves’ actual lives. Jonathan Woodward’s cut paper and collage illustrations are beautiful to look at and wonderfully atmospheric, and complement the text perfectly. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: classic animal story by one of our best authors for children Sky Dancer is a vivid, inspiring animal story in which the British countryside is as important a character as its human protagonists. Joe has grown up on the moors, and knows no other world. But following the death of his father, nothing seems certain anymore. His sense of insecurity is reflected in the wider community, divided over the fate of the hen harriers that nest nearby. Gill Lewis explores ideas of trust and loss, and like the very best animal stories, this is a thrilling and moving read that will help young readers understand the natural world, and their responsibility to look after it. ~ Andrea Reece
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 A book to make you think and feel, this is an important, beautiful, spellbinding treasure. Words from nature are disappearing, being removed, left to one side to be forgotten. Some words are in real danger of being lost forever, this book reveals those words, sings them, shows them, reminds us how to love them. Spell-weavers Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris have created a bewitching ode to nature, reminding us of the danger of absence, highlighting beauty, whispering to our soul. It feels as though the words, the poems, and vividly beautiful pictures are as one, the essence of the word, of the being, escapes the page to wrap itself around you. ‘The Lost Words’ is suitable for all ages, and should find a special place in all homes, all libraries, all schools, all hearts. Do read the spell-poems out loud, listen, look, feel, touch, allow your awareness to open and receive these gifts. I found myself entranced, I fell completely under the spell of ‘The Lost Words’, I simply can’t recommend it highly enough. ~ Liz Robinson
Wonderful rhyme carries you through this rollicking ride through the wild west and a town they called Fear, whose scary inhabitants wear rattlesnake socks, chew rocks and and soon leave newcomer, the colourful and jolly Bingo B. Brown without his cheerful grin. Bingo soon discovers that as scary as the cowboys in town are, the wildest, scariest cowboy of all comes calling after dark. Frightened by the tales he hears of this terrible stranger, Bingo and his dog decide to leave town. They soon discover that you can't run away from the things that scare you as they come face to face with the fear spreading cowboy. Bingo soon finds his courage though and before long this baddie goes from spiteful to delightful. This is an absolute joy to read and is packed full of fun and colourful illustrations that complement the story perfectly. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.
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