As regular readers know, N isn’t the biggest fan of reading. Actually that’s probably an understatement. He’ll read out of school books for the purpose of his school reading daily requirements. But reading for leisure doesn’t happen. The only books he’s read himself that he’s so far said he’s enjoyed have been David Walliams books and an Andy Murray biography. So I’m always on the lookout for other book recommendations that he might enjoy. Or at least try.
Because he’s interested in farming and animals I’ve been asking around online to see what book recommendations people have. Most farming themed books seem to be focused on younger children, either picture books, or much simpler learning to read books. What I wanted was chapter books suitable for readers developing their vocabulary and wanting more exciting plots.
There are certainly plenty of animal based books for children out there, but for N many are a bit twee, or too fantasy and far fetched (he’s not one for talking animals!). There are some that are more relatable and real life – whether about rescue animals, or interesting backgrounds, or children helping save them. So if your children prefer something more real life and believable, there are options below which might suit.
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Children’s animal themed chapter books
Michael Morpugo* – can be harder hitting emotional themes through the books for older readers (e.g War Horse), with younger readers enjoying the more fun Mudpuddle Farm series.
Megan Rix* – books about animal adventures, mostly about dogs. She has a War Series as well as more general dog’s stories.
Animal Ark* series – a book series about a girl with vet parents.
Dick King Smith* – some animal themed books like The Sheep-Pig and Charlotte’s Web. Set on farms, exploring animal relationships, rescues and adventures.
Willard Price adventure books* – less specifically animals, but introducing different environments around the world.
Clare Balding children’s series* – stories about children, (mostly) horses, and belief.
Riverdale Pony Stories – a girl rescues a pony, the book series share the fight to keep the horse and their adventures
Alternatively, if their reading level is suitable, why not try them on some adult books rather than children’s ones. We might try James Herriot, The Yorkshire Vet, and the Yorkshire Shepherdess next. N got on well with an Andy Murray biography, so it might be that he prefers non fiction. There’s plenty of these type of farming or vet books around, and sometimes it helps when they’re real people they might have seen on television.
The other option of course is trying them on farming or wildlife magazines. But I find that trying to persuade mine to actually read articles and not just look at the cost of all the tractors he wants to buy, doesn’t work. Except the Rawburn Semen Catalogue. N discovered that and was found reading all about the cost of AI and how much one of our former bulls was worth. Maybe not one for younger children, but educational if they’re in a farming family!
For other book ideas by age, check out the school reading list website.
What animal books for children do your enjoy reading?