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Animal stories for kids that are realistic but not sad?

(39 Posts)
TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 02-May-17 10:34:11

Any ideas?
Ds2 is obsessed with animals and will read any level from picture books to adult if it engages him - his recent top reads have been The Penguin Lessons and Humphrey The Classroom Hamster, but since he's into nature generally I think he would enjoy something more to do with the life of the animal in the wild.

However, he is a bit wimpy about death, so Watership Down and Ring of Bright Water are definitely out.

Can anyone think of anything? Thanks!

saladsmoothie Tue 02-May-17 10:39:20

Alexander mcCall Smith writes done stories for young readers that might work?


Ploppymoodypants Tue 02-May-17 10:40:31

Yes! How old is he?
What about The Sheep Pig by Dick KingSmith. It's the book from the film Babe, but soooo much better. In fact maybe don't tell him about the link. I was v upset about the awful film. The book is excellent. And happy ending. If he likes it there are other dick king smith one. Saddlebottom? Harry's Mad?

Also animals of farthing wood by Colin Dan. There is a whole series.

I read all these aged about 8 and read them to DD now. Definitely stood the test of time.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 02-May-17 10:47:30

Hurrah! These all look perfect, thank you both so much.
He is 7. He's a very confident reader and will read adult wildlife books, but emotionally his taste in stories is fairly typical of his age iyswim.

halcyondays Tue 02-May-17 11:41:59

The Incredible Journey
Olga da Polga
there are lots and lots of animal stories by Dick King Smith

saladsmoothie Wed 03-May-17 06:04:15

Jeremy Strong is good for 7 yr olds. The hundred mile an hour dog?

CheshireSplat Wed 03-May-17 06:21:47

Ploppypants you've evoked wonderful childhood memories! The Animals of Farthing Wood was a series of 5 (I think) books. All wonderful​. But The Fox Cub Bold was a real tear jerker so be warned as he doesn't like sad books. I was 7 when I read them, and a great book called Hunter's Moon about badgers too.

When I was a little older - 8,9? I adored the Adventure books by Willard Price about 2 brothers who travelled the world capturing animals for their dad's zoo. I thought they were wonderful - was bereft when I finished the series and couldn't really see what other pleasures life would bring!!! There was a thread about then a while ago and I know a few posters thought they were dreadful ( I can't remember why, I think it was in terms of how non-Americans were depicted) but I don't remember that, but I do remember the natural history I learned from them.

I'm 39 now so not sure if any of these are still in print!

On Dick King Smith, I loved Daggie Dogfoot too. More than the Sheep Pig.

DD1 is 5. I can't wait to start reading these!

Oh, a bit obvious but James and the Giant Peach has plenty of animals. And Danny the champion of the world is about pheasants, though they aren't the main characters!

Believeitornot Wed 03-May-17 06:27:13

My seven year old loved the "Rascal" series by Chris cooper. Yes some sad bits but I wouldn't shy away from sad stuff (it isn't like watership down though - the rascal books have a happy ending!). Also Jill Murphy's "Dear Hound" (she also wrote the worst witch books).

And yes to Danny the Champion of the world. Fabulous book. I recommend the audio version.

Winifredgoose Wed 03-May-17 06:29:10

My son is 6 and has the same tastes. Michael morpergo has written loads of lovely animal stories. My son started with Animal Stories, and Mudpuddle farm, and is now enjoying the Butterfly Lion. He has written loads of others which I am delighted about.
Also try Ookpik(a beautiful story about the migration of a snowy owl).
There is also a new series he loves about a girl who's parents run a zoo. There are two books out so far, and he is waiting for the third in July. Type in Tanglewood Animal Park, and you will find them.
There are also loads of non fiction animal books in the style of stories, like Bat loves the night. Nicola Davies has written loads more.
Diary of the killer cat(Anne Fine) the Hodgeheg(dick King Smith), Charlotte's Web(eb white), and the Jill Tomlinson series including the owl who was afraid of the dark, have also been popular with him(though Charlotte's Web is sad).
Good luck.

DoraChance Wed 03-May-17 06:51:03

I was a massive fan of The Silver Brumby books by Elyne Mitchell as a kid - about a family of wild horses in Australia. Loved it.

Leeds2 Wed 03-May-17 10:05:06

Cheshire, I think some of the Willard Price adventure books have been rewritten/updated by Anthony McGowan. Certainly Leopard Adventure has been,

NiceCuppaTeaAndASitDown Wed 03-May-17 10:38:42

I second the Dick King-Smith suggestion - I'm really tempted to try and find my copy of Magnus Powermouse now!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Wed 03-May-17 13:20:31

I would love to get him to read Danny The Champion Of The World - it's by far my favourite Roald Dahl - but the pheasant slaughter theme is too much for him. Similarly Charlotte's Web - he asked me if anyone died and I couldn't lie - and he also objects to Diary of A Killer Cat for obvious reasons. It's not that I want to shy away from sad stuff but ultimately he chooses what he reads and he is adamant about not reading about death. I should have made it clearer that it's a line in the sand for him, sorry.
Thank you for all the suggestions. I will look into Morpurgo and Willard Price too.

CheshireSplat Thu 04-May-17 20:32:21

leeds2 oh thanks! I'm excited!!!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Thu 04-May-17 20:43:30

Well, he is currently absorbed in Akimbo smile
And then dd wandered in and remarked that she used to have an Akimbo audiobook and it was brilliant but it must have got lost when we moved house.
I had no idea they even existed before this thread! Yay Mumsnet!

BlueChampagne Fri 05-May-17 13:28:29

The Travels of Oggy?

Second Dick King-Smith, Olga da Polga, and the Owl that was afraid of the dark. A few wry grown-up moments in that one!

Leeds2 Fri 05-May-17 19:13:13

Dr Doolittle (maybe not realistic!).

Lucy Daniels' Animal Ark series. There are loads of them! Some are based in South Africa and Australia, which may suit. She also does the Dolphin Diaries series,

user1494149651 Sun 07-May-17 11:21:51

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Backingvocals Sun 07-May-17 11:33:27

A favourite from my childhood is Animal Family by Randall Jarrell. I read it to my DCs recently and they loved it.

Also DCs enjoy the Just So Stories - How the elephant got his trunk etc. There's a brilliant audiobook narrated by Johnny Morris if that would work better.

SusieFlo Mon 08-May-17 17:01:53

I came onto this thread with an almost identical question. My son is also animal mad and soon to turn 6, so I was after recommendations.

MY response to the original poster is to be careful with Morpurgo as a lot of his stories are a bit on the sad side. (Also there are quite a few animal deaths in Farthing Wood).

If your son likes silly humour as much as mine, I can recommend 'The Bolds' by Julian Clary (about a group of hyenas pretending to be human in suburban Teddington) and also the Top Secret Diary of Pig by Emer Stamp. Both made my son laugh out loud.

SusieFlo Mon 08-May-17 17:05:19

Another recommendation from me is Jill Tomlinson who wrote a series of animal books, including 'The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark.'. I got a box set of her animal books, which included stories about aardvarks, otters, penguins, etc.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 08-May-17 19:57:56

Ooh, is there a penguin one? If I can find him that he might forgive me for The Animals Of Farthing Wood - turns out all the otters die shock

Winifredgoose Mon 08-May-17 20:03:58

Just saw this, and thought I should update. Having read the next twenty pages of Michael Morpergo's the Butterfly Lion, it is extremely sadsad. It is such a shame as his books are beautifully written. Does anyone know of any of his other animal books which aren't so miserable?
After reading the thread, I ordered the Akimbo books, they arrived and look brilliant.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 08-May-17 20:11:47

I think I quite fancy the Julian Clary one myself!
Akimbo has gone down really well.
We have the Johnny Morris Just So Stories cds - they are a favourite with the whole family.

SusieFlo Mon 08-May-17 20:43:09

Another collection that my son likes right now are the Dr Seuss Learning Library ones, which has loads of titles about animals. They're educational but in a lighthearted way, all written in verse, with lots of pictures.

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