Classic animal books for children

In honour of Beatrix Potter's 150th anniversary, we're revisiting some truly classic children's books featuring furry friends - as chosen by Mumsnetters

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1. The Tale of Ginger & Pickles - Beatrix Potter 

"My son loves Peter Rabbit (and as a result radishes and all rabbit veg!) and I have such fond memories of the story from my childhood."

"I think Beatrix Potter has a lot to teach us. Would the global economy have crashed if everyone had read The Tale of Ginger and Pickles?" 

2. The Snail and the Whale - Julia Donaldson

"I love the plucky little snail from The Snail and the Whale who goes out into the big wide world and has many adventures."

"A winner from Julia Donaldson. There are lovely messages in the book - the whale gets confused by all the noisy humans near the beach, and the little snail, despite his size, manages to save the huge whale. My daughter loves it."

3. The Tiger Who Came to Tea - Judith Kerr

"I love the Tiger - I want him to turn up at my house!"

"One of my favourites as a child and both my children love it now too. Added bonus when my husband changes the names, and occasionally even the animal…"

4. The Animals of Farthing Wood - Colin Dann


"I read every book as a child, and had a soft spot for Fox. He was so cool!"

"The Animals of Farthing Wood series is fab. Very well written, good characterisation, and a strong turn of phrase to develop a child’s language."

5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Eric Carle


"My son demands we read it almost every night so it's pretty special to me. That caterpillar sure does love his food - we have that in common!"

"A lovely story that keeps young children captivated, especially after they have seen a real life caterpillar. Beautifully illustrated with lots of bright colours and repetition which holds their attention and makes it a favourite book."

6. Six Dinner Sid - Inga Moore


"A humorous tale about a greedy cat - great for kids who are old enough to engage in proper stories."

"This was always one of my childhood faves. I now own a tabby cat much like Sid, not quite six dinners but he does visit many houses down our close... Naughty cat!"

7. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy - Lynley Dodd


"Hairy Maclary is such fun! The language in the books is just fabulous to read and clear to listen to and recite as a kid too."

8. Black Beauty - Anna Sewell

"I never get sick of reading it - one of my all time favourites."

"Not only a beautifully written book, with a tale straight from the horse's mouth (as it were), but also a timeless classic which deals with the subject of kindness and cruelty in a very gentle way, ideal for a young child." 

And don't forget... The Mumsnet Book of Animal Stories


"Enchanting and fun for most young children, especially animal lovers. Well put together, beautiful illustrations - it is a complete success."

A couple of years ago, we asked Mumsnetters for their own original animal stories, and were overwhelmed by the response. One of the winning authors featured in the collection - whose story centres around a hamster's journey into space - said of seeing her words in print: "I have been immersed in books my entire life and to have my own work published is wonderful! Still better, it is in the form of a story that I can read to my son at bedtime."

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Last updated: 37 minutes ago