Animals (KS2)

The Variety of Life

Nicola Davies & Lorna Scobie

This is a large and beautifully illustrated compendium celebrating the diversity of life on our planet. Each double page spread features a different type of animal, such as penguins or bears, and after an introductory paragraph presents a variety of different species with watercolour illustrations and interesting facts. This is an essential classroom book for the topic of animal variation.

The White Giraffe

Lauren St John

This is the first novel in Lauren St John's popular series. When a young English girl called Martine moves to live with her grandmother on a South African game reserve, she finds herself feeling lonely and isolated. One night she sees a mysterious silver giraffe and as she begins to befriend it, a thrilling mystery begins to unravel. 

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Creature Features

Natasha Durley

A bold and colourful non-fiction book with a high visual appeal. This non-fiction text emphasises both the amazing diversity and commonality between different species of animals. Each double-page spread displays animals united by a common feature, from horns to long necks to big ears. A great way to get children thinking about adaptation and variation in the animal kingdom. 

How to Help a Hedgehog and Protect a Polar Bear

Jess French & Angela Keoghan

This is full to the brim with simple ideas to help endangered animals and make the world a better place. The book begins with a guide to the different types of habitats that can be found before taking each individual one and detailing not only what wildlife lives there (with fantastic facts and size and weight keys to make it even easier) and ways we can help. The illustrations are bold, beautiful and give a high-quality finish. Perfect for all ages from 5 year olds to 105 years old, this is one not just for school but a perfect home addition as well.



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Disappearing Acts: A Search-and-Find Book of Endangered Animals

Isabella Bunnell

This is an engaging way for children to think about the topic of animals becoming endangered. Each page features a different habitat and readers are challenged to search through the beautiful illustrations to find the endangered animals listed art the side. Accompanying the illustrations there is information about each endangered species. 

When the Mountains Roared

Jess Butterworth

The story follows Ruby, a twelve-year-old girl animal lover who moves with her family from their Australian home to a remote mountain village in India to run a hotel. Unimpressed when she arrives in her new home, Ruby does manage to find some things to like about the foreign setting. Jess Butterworth’s descriptions of the mountain landscape are beautiful and evocative as nature-lover Ruby takes in the new smells, colours and wildlife of the Himalayan habitat. Ruby sets out on a mission to protect the few remaining leopards there from the threat of poachers. This is an atmospheric and enticing story that explores an important theme about preservation and it will appeal to readers in Years 4-6.


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Book of Bones: 10 Record-Breaking Animals

Gabrielle Balkan & Sam Brewster

Each page presents a different skeleton and readers are given clues to try and guess which animal it belongs to. Engaging and informative, this text helps readers make links between the anatomy of different creatures and their behaviour.  

A Collection of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories

Rudyard Kipling & Various Illustrators

Eight of Rudyard Kipling's classic animal-themed Just So Stories are presented for a young audience in this illustrated collection, suitable for KS2. The stories include How the Whale Got His Throat, How The Camel Got His Hump and How The Rhinoceros Got His Skin.

Life-Sized Animal Tracks

John Townsend

This fun information texts offers a different way in to learning about animals by focussing on the prints and tracks animals leave behind. Each page features a different animal's paw-, foot- or hoof- print, with a diagram showing its actual size and shape and plenty of accessible and interesting facts about each creature.  


The Hunter

Paul Geraghty

Filled with detailed artwork portraying different African animals in their natural environment, this picture book tells the story of a girl called Jamina who likes to play at pretending to be a hunter. One day she discovers an elephant in distress and sees first hand the devastating effect on the natural world caused by poachers.  This is a beautifully illustrated picture book with a thought-provoking message at its heart. 

Habitats (Science Skills Sorted!)

Anna Claybourne

This non-fiction text about habitats places an emphasis on working scientifically in order to explore the topic of habitats and ecosystems. Each topic is presented through a series of hands-on experiments following the ATOM method (ask, test, observe, measure), such as testing how effectively blubber protects bodies from cold and investigating how worms mix up the soil to improve their habitats. We highly recommend this series for KS2 classrooms, with other books in the series covering Rocks & Fossils, Evolution and Life Cycles (click to view on Amazon).

A First Book of Nature

Nicola Davies & Mark Hearld

This book has a dreamteam of components: Nicola Davies, Mark Hearld, poetry and nature. Together they create something that belongs in multiple genres. It’s a poetry book, an art book - Hearld’s woodblock prints are one with the words - and an information book. The book guides you through the seasons, and the poems about British wildlife, weather and trees depict how special each one is, while gently informing. In my opinion, an essential addition to any library or classroom, and a fine multi-topic book for any age group.

(Recommended by Roy James (@royjamesmoss), Librarian & Reader with KS2).


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The Animals of Farthing Wood

Colin Dann

This animal adventure story has become a children's literary classic. The animals living in Farthing Wood come under threat when bulldozers come to destroy their natural habitat. They must work together to survive the dangerous journey to a nature reserve, making friends and enemies along the way. A good text to support the topics of food chains and habitats. 

Mad About Monkeys

Owen Davey

A high-quality non-fiction text that explores the topic of monkeys in a stylish and visually appealing way. Learn all about these creatures, with topics including habitats, diet, classification and behaviour. You may also like the other books in the series, Crazy About Cats (available here) , Smart About Sharks (available here) and Bonkers About Beetles (available here)

Actual Size

Steve Jenkins

A very popular choice in the classroom, this book allows readers to gain a sense of the relative sizes of different animals (or the parts of them that fit on the page at least!). Compare your hand to a gorilla's or figure out how many times your eye would fit inside one of a giant squid's eyes. 

Sky Dancer

Gill Lewis

This novel deals with the pressing issue of decreasing numbers of hen harriers. This is largely due to the ‘management’ of estates and moors to preserve the numbers of grouse for the shooting season. Lewis deals with the issue fairly, without preaching, and both sides of the argument have convincing vehicles in the believable characters of the village of Hartstone. The novel provides plenty of opportunities for pupils to engage with the ongoing UK debate and to research the passions of both sides. Sky Dancer, as you might expect from one of the UK’s leading novelists, is a confident and convincingly told story - with plenty for classes to admire beyond the key storyline. The writing has a classic feel with authentic and gritty characters with whom we can easily empathise. Ultimately Lewis has created a story about finding yourself, your voice and having the courage to speak out.

(Recommended by Simon Fisher (@bookwormswales), Primary Teacher and book blogger at


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Wild Animals of the South

Dieter Braun

This is a stunning compendium of different animals living the in the Southern Hemisphere, including sloths, jaguars, macaws and gorillas. The book is organised by continent and each double-page spread covers a different animal and includes a beautiful illustration along with a short paragraph of informative text. This is a highly appealing book that is perfect for finding out about different animals and comparing them with other creatures from different global habitats. You may also like the companion book, Wild Animals of the North (available here).


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Animal Architects: Amazing Animals Who Build Their Homes

Julio Antonio Blasco & Daniel Nassar

This is a fascinating book that looks at the incredible way in which animals construct homes for themselves. From leafcutter ants making an underground garden to chimpanzees making rooftop terraces to hummingbirds making tiny cup-shaped nests. Beautifully illustrated and really interesting. 

Running Wild

Michael Morpurgo

This novel, by the popular children's author Michael Morpurgo, is set in the Indonesian Rainforest. It tells the story of Will, who is left fighting for survival in the rainforest with an enchanting elephant called Oona. 


Mike Unwin & Jenni Desmond

This book collates the stories of 20 different animals and the incredible journeys they undertake. This beautifully illustrated information text is recommended for KS2. Animals include blue wildebeests, humpback whales, Christmas Island red crabs, wandering albatrosses and ruby-throated hummingbirds. 

The Great Kapok Tree

Lynne Cherry

This is a colourful and engaging picture book that captures the spirit of the rainforest through its beautifully detailed illustrations. It has a simple story line that is accessible to less confident readers but a strong message about deforestation and enough depth to captivate older readers too. Check out the accompanying unit of work from KS2History. 

The Big Book of Beasts

Yuval Zommer

This award-winning book showcases wild and wonderful beasts, from tigers and brown bears to binturongs and Ice Age beasts. Hugely popular in primary classrooms due to its vibrant, appealing illustrations and accessible and interesting style of text, this informative compendium is the kind of non-fiction that children like to come back to again and again. You may also like the other books in the series, The Big Book of Bugs (available here) and The Big Book of the Blue (available here). 

The Akimbo Adventures

Alexander McCall Smith

This book contains three stories about nature at its most wild and thrilling. Akimbo lives on the edge of an African game reserve where he helps his father to protect the animals in their natural habitat. In these adventures he saves elephants from sneaky poachers, rescues a trapped lion cub and saves a man from the jaws of a crocodile. Highly recommended for KS2.