Horse-crazy kids won’t be able to resist TV presenter Clare Balding’s first book for children, The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop. Like many children, ten-year-old Charlie Bass wants nothing more than her own horse. Her wish is granted when she accidentally manages to buy a racehorse Noble Warrior. Strong and elegant, he looks like the perfect racehorse but there’s one problem, he refuses to gallop and won’t leave his stable without his best friend, a naughty pony called Percy. However, Charlie won’t give up on him. She believes he has what it takes to be a champion and winning Derby Day is her only chance to save the family farm from being repossessed. Filled with funny moments and loveable characters, you and your little ones will find yourselves cheering for Charlie and Noble Warrior. Look out for the next book in the series, which is due to be published in the autumn.
If your little ones love a good giggle then look no further than AniMalcom by comedian David Baddiel. Malcolm isn’t that bothered by animals but his family loves them and their home is full of pets. He hopes that his year 6 residential school trip will provide respite from the animal world but his worst nightmare comes true when he arrives at a farm. Much to his surprise, over the course of the three-day trip, he takes the form of various farm animals and gains a new found respect for creatures after getting to know them intimately! A funny and silly story, AniMalcolm explores how animals communicate and gives an insight into seeing life from different perspectives. Children will love spotting all their favourite farm animals in Jim Field’s fantastic illustrations.
Every child at one point wishes they could talk to animals, and that’s exactly what Aubrey can do. A fantasy adventure, Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds, tells the epic tale of a small boy and house spider who set off on a quest across time and space to try and save the world. Filled with endearing characters including Bernardo the bee and Eric the earthworm, Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds is not only an entertaining read but highlights key social environmental messages, from the importance of sharing to cutting down on pesticides. A beautifully written book, it’s hard not to be swept along by its magic.
Roald Dahl’s legendary tale, Fantastic Mr Fox, was published nearly 50 years ago but still continues to capture young imaginations. It tells the story of the most cunning fox in the world who every morning sneaks into the valley and helps himself to the food from the farms to take back to his family. When the farmers Boggis, Bean and Bruce, hatch a plan to kill Mr Fox, little do they know that he’s come up with a fantastic plan of his own. Brave, kind and fearless, Mr Fox is a lovable hero and will make little ones giggle as he outwits the scheming famers.
Dog lovers are guaranteed to fall in love with Pug, the adorable star of The Adventures of Pug series by Laura James. Based on the antics of her very own silly dogs, Brian and Florence, Cowboy Pug is the second highly entertaining tale in the series. Always at the centre of the action, Pug and his faithful companion Lady Miranda decide to be cowboys for the day and, after securing their noble steed, Horsey, it’s not long before they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. It’s down to Pug, the reluctant hero, to overcome his fears and save the day once more. A fun adventure story glued together by the central relationship between Pug and Miranda, Cowboy Pug teaches children a valuable lesson in how to be a good friend whilst making them chuckle throughout.
Comedian-turned-author Julian Clary’s series of popular children’s books centre around The Bolds, a family of hyenas living a normal life in Teddington. Mr and Mrs Bold and their two twins Bobby and Berry do everything they can to keep up the appearance of being human. In their latest adventure they decide to go to the seaside for their summer holiday and head to Cornwall for a spot of camping. However, it isn’t long before the Bolds find themselves in trouble when Bobby is mistaken for a puppy and snatched by an evil dognapper. They have to use all their ingenuity to hunt her down and rescue all the stolen puppies before its too late and without revealing their identity. Filled with quirky illustrations by David Roberts, The Bolds on Holiday is so funny your little one will be left laughing like a hyena!
Charlotte’s Web is one of the most touching animal stories of our time. Generations have enjoyed reading the tale of a young girl called Fern who saves a piglet, Wilbur, the runt of the litter from her father’s axe. After finding him a home in her uncle’s barn where the piglet meets Charlotte, a wise spider, who with the help of animals on the farm, make it their mission to save Wilbur from being fattened up for slaughter. Deeply moving and life-affirming, Charlotte’s Web is a story which will stay with your children for a long time.
Bear Grylls takes young minds on an exciting adventure to the Indian Jungle and introduces them to all their favourite exotic animals in Spirit of the Jungle. Inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s classic, The Jungle Book, he tells the story of Mak, a young boy who wakes up alone in the Indian Jungle after being washed down the Wainganga river during a flash flood. From poisonous snakes to vicious monkeys and sinister poachers, the jungle is full of danger. Mak seeks help and friendship from other animals but he will need to use all his skills to survive and make his way home. With handy tips from a real life survival expert, Spirit of the Jungle is not only thrilling but educational. Watch out for more books in the series coming soon.
Football fans and animal lovers alike will delight in this hilarious tale about llamas. Eleven-year old Tim and his family move to the country after his dad decides to become a farmer. However, farming is harder than it looks and with bankruptcy looming, Tim persuades his dad to take on a pack of eleven llamas. Having unknowingly eaten the ashes of one of the greatest footballers of all time, they turn out to be fantastic at football! Managed by Tim, his friend Cairo and Scottish World Cup winner McCloud, they soon compete at a high level as Llama United. Totally bonkers and hugely enjoyable, little ones will be gripped as Llama United battle with their rival teams who will do anything to stop them in their tracks.
Watership Down is a spellbinding, moving classic and one which children will pick up time and time again. Set in the beautiful English countryside of the Berkshire Downs, this stirring tale follows a brave and lovable band of rabbits fearing the destruction of their home by developers. Fiver, Hazel and their family leave the safety of their warren in search of a new home. A quest for survival, they have to skirt danger at every turn. Filled with adventure, excitement, humour and sadness Watership Down is one of the most powerful stories about wild animals.
Master storyteller Michael Morpurgo has been entertaining children for years with his fantastic books about animals. In his latest, The Fox and the Ghost King, sport and history come together to create a charming story. In a world where every fox is a football fan, a family of foxes living in a cosy den under a garden shed love nothing more than cheering on their favourite team, Leicester City. Much to their dismay, their team keeps losing but when Daddy fox finds the ghost of a king buried underneath a car park, he offers to grant his biggest wish, as long as he releases him. A delightful tale of victory against all odds, Michael Morpurgo has crafted another compelling story for children.
If you and your child enjoyed watching The Durrells then they will love reading My Family and Other Animals. An autobiographical book by naturalist Gerald Durrell, he describes the years he lived as a child on the Greek Island of Corfu with his mother and siblings. Being animal-obsessed from a young age, Gerald hilariously recounts how he turned his family into a zoo, with snakes in the bath and scorpions on the lunch table! Brilliantly funny, Gerald’s account of his unconventional, chaotic family life will entertain little ones whilst teaching them a great deal about the natural world.
The Mice of the Round Table is an epic new series for children and perfect for those who love learning about medieval legend. A retelling of King Arthur and Camelot, the story alternates between Calib Christopher, a young mouse training to become a knight like the generations before him and a young boy, Galahad who arrives in Camelot also in hope of living up to his family name by becoming a knight. When tragedy strikes and evil threatens to invade, it’s up to Calib and Galahad to save Camelot. An imaginative and immersive adventure told through the eyes of cute little mice – what more could you want!
If your child doesn’t already want a pet Guinea pig, they will after reading Piggy Handsome! Piggy Handsome is a very confident Guinea pig who comes from a long line of famous ancestors but is yet to make his mark on the world. With the help of his straight talking friend Jeffry the budgie, Handsome might just realise his dreams. On a day trip to the seaside he has the chance to get in the papers and save the day after encountering two evil villains Dan and Dolly Dixon. A hilariously quirky tale of a little rodent with a big ego, you can’t help but be charmed by the charismatic Piggy Handsome.
Another captivating classic, horse lovers will find a new favourite book in Black Beauty. A pretty young horse, Black Beauty enjoys blissful beginnings as a foal and spends many happy days with his friends Ginger and Merrylegs in the meadows. However, easy life comes to an end when he’s sold and goes from farm to inn to cabhorse in London, enduring rough treatment from foolish and careless masters. Despite his harsh treatment, he remains faithful and hardworking. Filled with both moving and uplifting moments Black Beauty teaches children that all creatures deserve to be treated with kindness.