10 fantastic animal book characters for children

Some books are memorable for their warm narrators, and settings so lucid that it’s as if you’re there. But for a lot of us, it’s the characters. They leave lasting impressions. Their personalities, their journeys, and even their choices stay with us. And they teach us important life lessons. 

From a young age, I remember reading about animal book characters such as cunning foxes, wise owls, greedy pigs, and wolves with ulterior motives. All stereotypes. But they had a way of enchanting the fairy tales I grew up on.

List of stories with animal book characters

Animal book characters make lots of famous appearances in children’s stories. From The Hungry Caterpillar to The Cheshire Cat, they have been immortalised in their own books. And they are a great way to engage young readers and spark their imagination. 

Looking for a few examples for your children? Look no further. You’ll find some mesmerising examples of animal book characters in these tales below:

Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

A.A. Milne has a way of capturing the nostalgic and adventurous parts of childhood. And encasing it in the world of 100 acre wood.

Young readers will meet adored animal book characters such as Winnie The Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit, Eeyore and Owl. They’ll also find plenty of warmth, gentle humour and uplifting lessons in between these pages.

Little Pearl by Helen Haraldsen

Many children grow up with a love for horses and horse-riding. Helen Haraldsen shares the same passion. And the Amber’s Pony Tale series is a heartfelt testament to growing up with them. 

She also did a great interview for young readers about teaching literacy and her writing experience, which is available for anyone to play online.

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

This classic children’s story follows the adventures of a sly fox and his family. Brimming with outlandish escapades, this book is an absolute page-turner and has gained acclaim as a film and musical too!

You can also marvel at the woodland creatures as they go about their daily lives!

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down is another beloved children’s story about the lives of rabbits as they find a new home. The story is far from light-hearted. But the epic takes readers on a hair-raising journey of bravery and hope.

Stuart Little by. B. White

You’ve probably heard of the film. But did you know it’s based on a book as well? You’ll find all the same animal characters, including Snowball the Cat, and Margolo the Bird. And of course, Stuart Little – the little mouse with a big heart.

But there’s far more to discover in this story as well.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson 

The Gruffalo has delighted the minds of very young readers with its wit, bold illustrations and charming poetic rhythm. It’s rightfully earned its place on the bookshelves of many children and families. 

Read about the clever mouse who manages to outsmart all the predators – even the frightening Gruffalo!

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

This nail-biting story is another phenomenal classic. Not only does it take readers to a faraway place, it fosters a deep connection with nature.

Young readers will love the animal book characters that come to life in the novel, from Baloo to Bagheera, each with unique and unforgettable personalities.

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Another great tale of adventure for really young readers. This picture book has another world full of animal book characters, mysterious creatures and monsters crammed within its pages.

The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark by Jill Tomlinson

This uplifting and heart-warming tale is a great metaphor for facing a fear of the dark and finding courage in the most surprising places.

And all from the perspective of the mysterious yet majestic owl and other nocturnal animals.

The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame

This world-renowned novel is a perfect bedtime story and is ideal for reading aloud. It’s packed with interesting and quirky characters such as Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad. And continues to enchant people with its magical descriptions of life in the Wild Wood, not to mention Toad’s whimsy!

Why are animal book characters so valuable to us?

Some of the most memorable book characters in history have been animals. From the farmyard characters in George Orwell’s Animal Farm to the three bears and Goldilocks.

As animals, they can offer us a unique insight into their world. They give us a glimpse of nature or a fantastical world. And in the guise of a cautionary tale, they can teach us important lessons too, whether it’s about talking to strangers, or treating people fairly.

They’re also a brilliant way for animal lovers to find stories they’ll enjoy as well.

More reading 

If you resonated with these animal book characters, you might want to check these other recommendations as well:

Life of Pi: A Book Review

Writing Prompt: What would you do if you could talk to animals?

Book Review: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

100 Great Children’s Books

Adam Morris

I'm a Content Executive for educational publishers, Twinkl. I spend lots of time writing about teaching, reading and the world of learning!

2 thoughts on “10 fantastic animal book characters for children

    1. Adam Morris says:

      I’ve not heard of that book! I tried looking for it and found Open Throat by Henry Hoke. Is that the one?


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