Books

Top 5 children's books about animals, selected by Oscar's Lion author Adam Baron 

Pigs, spiders, cats, dogs, rats, badgers, moles, toads... even wombles star in novelist Adam Baron's pick of children's books starring animals

Black and white illustration of a lion lying on a bed

Illustration from Adam Baron's book, Oscar's Lion. Image: © Benji Davies

Animals have always been a popular subject for children’s books. Author Adam Baron picks his five favourites.

Charlotte’s Web by EB White, illustrated by Garth Williams

One of the first chapter books I ever read. This classic story of friendship, danger and renewal is vivid, touching, and always gripping. What would you do to save someone you love? I spent so much time on farms growing up, and this takes me right back. 

The Wombles by Elizabeth Beresford, illustrated by Nick Price

Are Wombles animals? Yes! If you’ve only ever seen the TV animation, check out this touching and funny tale of community and survival. It’s one of the first truly environmental children’s books and the BBC should definitely adapt it again. Call my agent – I’ll write it! 

The Mousehole Cat by Antonia Barber, illustrated by Nicola Bayley 

Community is also at the heart of this retelling of a Cornish legend. Can old Tom and his mog Mowser defeat the Great Storm Cat and save the whole village from starvation? Elegant storytelling and stunning illustrations: crying at the end is not an option. 

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Fluke by James Herbert 

For dog people. Fluke is a mongrel with strange memories. Was he something else before he became a dog? A surprisingly low-key tale from the master of shlock horror.   

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame 

Evil ferrets! A grumpy badger! A mole and a rat enjoying lazy days on the river while the Wild Wood waits! Best of all, a madcap, car-jacking toad who breaks out of prison! The greatest children’s novel of all time.  

Oscar's Lion book cover

Oscar’s Lion by Adam Baron, illustrated by Benji Davies, is out on 26 October (HarperCollins, £12.99) 

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