Animal characters are a staple of children’s literature, and for good reason. Many young readers gravitate to animals, giving these stories wide appeal. Peruse the children’s department at your local library, and you will find lots of books featuring farm animals, pets, and – for reasons I’m not sure I understand – rodents. Here at Read to Them, in addition to Fenway, Wilbur, and Humphrey, we have books with some more unconventional animals, too. Here are Six Books with Unusual Animals for you to try!
Gooseberry Park by Cynthia Rylant is a tale of friendship and teamwork between a loyal dog, a brave squirrel, a wise hermit crab, and…a wisecracking bat. Murray the bat will help dispel all those icky misconceptions about these nocturnal creatures. Really, they just love junk food!
Appleblossom the Possum by Holly Goldberg Sloan follows the escapades of a young marsupial who befriends a girl, despite the warnings of her mother and her brothers. Did you know possums study Shakespeare to perfect playing dead? Well, now you do!
In James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, everything is unusual, from the horrible aunts to the enormous sea-faring fruit. The large supporting cast of insect characters adds to the outlandishness and heart of this classic Dahl story.
The Mysterious Abductions by Tracey Hecht opens a series that sheds light on creatures of the dark. An unlikely trio of a pangolin, a sugar glider, and a fox set off to find out why other animals are vanishing, seemingly without a trace.
In We Can’t All Be Rattlesnakes by Patrick Jennings, a female gopher snake named Crusher will have even the most fearful of us thinking differently about these scary reptiles, and rooting for her to find her freedom.
Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park introduces readers to the science and magic of silkworms as they transform from tiny eggs into delicate pillows of silk. While the worms don’t talk in this book, their metamorphosis is central to the growth of the human protagonists.