Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

Home > Topics > Science, Maths & Computing > Animals Topic (KS2)

Animals Topic (KS2)

icon animal pritns

Recommended children’s books about the animal kingdom

Animal books have always been wildly popular with children, ever since the very first children’s books were printed. In Science at KS2, children learn about animal life cycles, habitats, classification, survival and adaption, looking at different types of animals from around the globe. From marvellous mammals and brilliant birds to interesting invertebrates and clever carnivores, there’s plenty to explore in the animal kingdom. Our list of recommended children’s books about animals will help you to dig your claws right into the very best texts for the topic.

NB: This animal topic booklist is aimed at children in Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11). If you are looking for animal books for younger children, try our All About Animals (KS1) booklist.

Our best animal stories for KS2 Children

Hannah Gold
 & Levi Pinfold
Chapter book
There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that's what April's father tells her when his scientific research takes them to this remote Arctic outpost for six months. But one endless summer night, April meets one. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life... This moving story will win the hearts of children the world over and show them that no one is too young or insignificant to make a difference. The Last Bear is a celebration of the love between a child and an animal, a battle cry for our world and an irresistible adventure with a heart as big as a bear's.
Lauren St John
Chapter book

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.

Nizrana Farook
Chapter book

This is a story of adventure and friendship. The relationship between Selvi and Amir takes a while to build and it shows that friendships take work to be successful. The setting of the Serendib mountains will transport children to a place that many are likely to know very little about and provides an opportunity to introduce them to different lifestyles and cultures. The issue around animal hunting is an interesting one to explore and would make the basis for a good class discussion. The relatively short chapters help to keep the story moving at a good pace and make it an easy book to dip in and out of. For children who are daunted by longer chapters and books, this will make it all the more appealing.

Carlie Sorosiak
Chapter book

Clementine is a mouse, born in a laboratory with her brothers and sisters, genetically altered to be super intelligent. One day, one of the researchers ‘rescues’ her and one of her brothers, leaving them to be looked after by an elderly man and his visiting grandson. The two humans have to think of a plan to keep the mice safe and prevent the lab from taking them back.

Written as letters Clementine sends in her head to the laboratory chimpanzee Rosie, the story gathers pace as Clementine realises what her fate might be if she is returned to the lab.

This is a wonderful book; I could not put it down. It is both an exciting adventure and a plea not to use animals in experiments. With echoes of Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh (Robert C O’Brien) and even the Queen’s Gambit (Walter Tevis), the reader follows Clementine with bated breath and learns that while some humans are very bad indeed, others can be kind and good. This is a heart-warming story, filled with humour and love.

Roger Stevens, Liz Brownlee & Sue Hardy-Dawson
Poetry
This gorgeous collection of animal poems from Roger Stevens, Liz Brownlee and Sue Hardy-Dawson will entrance and delight in equal measure. Featuring a full alphabet of animals, birds, and insects, with the odd extinct or imaginary creature thrown in, these beautiful shape poems are a perfect way to introduce children to poetry. Some funny, some serious, there is something here for everyone.

SF Said
 & Dave McKean
Chapter book
This cat must learn to fight! Varjak Paw is a Mesopotamian Blue kitten. He lives high up in an old house on a hill. He's never left home, but then his grandfather tells him about the Way - a secret martial art for cats. 'There are Seven Skills in the way of Jalal,' whispered the Elder Paw. 'We know only three of them. Their names are these. Slow-Time. Moving Circles. Shadow-walking.' Now Varjak must use the Way to survive in a city full of dangerous dogs, cat gangs and, strangest of all, the mysterious Vanishings. With stunning illustrations from acclaimed graphic artist Dave McKean, this much-loved story won the Smarties Prize Gold Award and has become a modern classic.
Carlie Sorosiak
Chapter book

This is a super-engaging story about an alien who gets to spend a month in the body of a domestic cat. We were totally charmed by this middle-grade novel by Carlie Sorosiak. A witty, moving and thought-provoking story about finding and claiming your place in the world. Animal lovers in Key Stage Two will no doubt fall in love with this other-worldly adventure.

E. B. White
 & Garth Williams
Chapter book
A poignant, humorous story of a pig, a spider and a little girl. Wilbur the pig's life has already been saved by Fern, but when he is sold to her uncle, he realises his life is in even more danger. Enter Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider. Charlotte is determined to keep Wilbur from the chopping block, and comes up with an ingenious way to do just that.
Alexander McCall Smith
Chapter book
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.
Philippa Pearce
Chapter book
Sid, Peggy and Amy adore the two gerbils, Bubble and Squeak, but their mother detests them. A major family battle results, and it's clear life is never going to be quite the same again. But after a near fatal encounter between Bubble and Ginger the cat, Mrs Sparrow begins to see that life with a pair of gerbils might not be so bad after all.

Pax

Sara Pennypacker
 & Jon Klassen
Chapter book
The moving story of the extraordinary friendship between a boy and his fox and their epic journey to be reunited. Beautifully illustrated by multi-award winner, Jon Klassen. Now available in Paperback! Pax was only a kit when his family was killed and he was rescued by ‘his boy’, Peter. Now the country is at war and when his father enlists, Peter has no choice but to move in with his grandfather. Far worse than leaving home is the fact that he has to leave Pax behind. But before Peter spends even one night under his grandfather’s roof he sneaks out into the night, determined to find his beloved friend. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their journeys back to each other as war rampages throughout the country. A profound and moving story with stunning illustrations by award-winning illustrator, Jon Klassen, ‘Pax’ is destined to become a classic in the vein of ‘Charlotte’s Web’ and ‘Watership Down’.

Children's books about biodiversity and animal classification

Cath Ard
 & Greer Stothers
Non-fiction
Why are animals so amazingly colourful? Find out in this kaleidoscopic look at the technicolour world of animals. Meet animals of every colour of the rainbow and find out why they are the colours and patterns they are . Discover the reason why some animals are stripy and others are spotty. Why do some creatures deliberately pop out while others strive to blend in? Why are some bright to warn off others while others only pretend to look toxic? Why are some male animals so much more flamboyant than their female counterparts? Why do some babies look so different from the grown-ups in their families? The animal kingdom is explored like never before in this richly detailed natural history book, bursting with life and colour. This is a beautifully illustrated first look at the colourful and kaleidoscopic world of animals for young children.
Dieter Braun
Non-fiction
Famous German illustrator Dieter Braun offers his readers an accurate representation of animals from all around the world in this gorgeously illustrated volume. Our world is full of wonderful animals. From the brightly coloured mandrills in the rainforests of Africa to the majestic humpback whales in the icy waters of the Antarctic. Through his beautiful and colourful illustrations, readers will be dazzled by the giraffes and elephants in Africa, koalas and kangaroos in Australia, huge blue whales in the open oceans, and many more! These animals, some endangered, remind us that nature is incredible, and that we need its diversity more than ever.
Macken Murphy
 & Dragan Kordic
Non-fiction

Children’s films and books are full of nature’s duos: now it is time to learn about how pairs of animals and animal-plant combinations work together for mutual gain and survival in the real world.

Each double-page spread in this fascinating non-fiction book gives information about a different relationship. The reader learns how each member of the pair acts to benefit the other. For example: did you know that, in Columbia, there is a frog that babysits the eggs of a tarantula – stopping them from being eaten by ants – in return for being protected from predators such as snakes?

In addition to the main relationship, the reader is presented with plenty of interesting and delightful facts about each of the animals or plants themselves. Did you know that a skink lizard can make its tail fall off and grow again if it gets trapped? AND, sometimes, there is enough tail left over that the skink actually ends up with two tails!

The book covers a wide range of biomes and habitats: even the human scalp! All of the pages are beautifully illustrated to capture the reader’s imagination and make them want to discover more about the natural world. This book would be a welcome addition to any Key Stage Two non-fiction collection and could also be used as inspiration for fiction writing.

Barbara Taylor
 & Margaux Carpentier
Non-fiction Picturebook
Did you know that a frog can stop its heart from beating? Or that an elephant's tooth is heavier than a brick? Or that the brain of an ostrich is smaller than its eyeball? In this book, there are 21 cross-sections that show how skeletons, organs, nerves and muscles fit together inside creatures from across the globe. Animals can have some body parts in common with us humans, such as the brain, heart and lungs – but each creature has its own unique body to help it survive and thrive in the wild. This means that there are all kinds of weird and wonderful organs and senses in the animal kingdom, such as the honey stomach in a honeybee or the ink sac of an octopus. Prepare to be dazzled as you discover incredible information to wow your family and friends with.
Nicola Davies
 & Emily Sutton
Non-fiction
Winner of the Margaret Mallett Picture Book Award, as part of the English 4-11 Picture Book Awards. There are living things everywhere: the more we look, the more we find. There are creatures on the tops of the tallest jungle trees, at the bottom of the coldest oceans, even under the feathers of birds and in boiling volcanic pools. So how many different kinds are there? One, two, three ... lots! From the award-winning team behind Tiny: The Invisible World of Microbes comes Lots, a beautifully illustrated introduction to the concept of biodiversity for younger readers. With words from Nicola Davies and exquisite artwork by Emily Sutton, this groundbreaking book is certain to enchant and inspire children.

Jenny Broom
 & Katie Scott
Non-fiction
Welcome to the museum! There are more than 160 animal specimens to be discovered in Animalium, the first in a series of virtual museums. Wander the galleries - open 365 days a year - and discover a collection of curated exhibits on every page, accompanied by informative text. Each chapter features a different branch of the tree of life, from the simple sponge to the enormous elephant.
Sabrina Weiss
 & Paul Daviz
Non-fiction
Discover over 100 of the world's most remarkable creatures in this beautifully illustrated tour of Earth's wildlife. Animals come in all sorts of weird and wonderful shapes and sizes. From the record breaking tongue of a chameleon to the dashing dance of the peacock spider, you'll learn about the most amazing examples from air, land and sea. Discover playful dolphins, sleepy koalas and even a fish that keeps its babies safe in its own mouth, uncovering the secrets of their survival, the incredible habitats they call home as well as the environmental threats putting them in danger. A central gatefold offers a world map which reveals the locations of all the animals included in the book.

Children's books about endangered animals and animal survival

Jess Butterworth
Chapter book
A vivid, warm and atmospheric adventure set in the mountains of India, about a girl who is determined to protect the wild leopards of the mountain from poachers, perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell. I thought we'd live here forever ... but then, I thought Mum would be here forever too. When Ruby's dad uproots her from Australia to set up a hotel in the mountains of India, Ruby is devastated. Not only are they living in a run-down building in the middle of the wilderness surrounded by scorpions, bears and leopards, but Ruby is sure that India will never truly feel like home - not without her mum there. Ever since her mum died, Ruby has been afraid. Of cars. Of the dark. Of going to sleep and never waking up. But then the last remaining leopards of the mountain are threatened and everything changes. Ruby vows to do all she can to protect them - if she can only overcome her fears...
Nicola Davies
Picturebook
A rhinoceros remembers his life before grey captivity, one full of colour, with familiar smells and sights. He thinks of his mother being slain by poachers. He has searched the zoo but cannot find another like him. He fears he is the last. He describes a joyless life for all the animals with him, before being rescued and brought back home. The colour is brought back into his life when he realis-es he is not the last. Last evokes a longing for home from the reader and a sense of hope for the future upon its ending. In her debut as an illustrator, Nicole Davies effectively and beautifully portrays the differences in mood and surroundings between the rhinoceros' life before and during captivity through her effective use of colour.
Catherine Barr & Anne Wilson
Non-fiction
An engaging and colourful book looking at different endangered species. The information on each page draws attention to the beauty and uniqueness of each creature and highlights the way in which each one is in danger. There are also useful suggestions of ways to help each endangered creature.
Jess Butterworth
 & Kirsti Beautyman
Chapter book
Do you like exploring, animals and adventure? Then join The Adventure Club this summer! A brand new illustrated series for younger readers about animals and adventure from much-loved author Jess Butterworth - writer of classic adventure stories in vibrantly described settings. Tilly has no plans for the summer holidays and is dreading months of boredom -- that is until she becomes part of The Adventure Club and wins a place to go track and monitor endangered red pandas in Nepal! In the Himalayas, she meets other members of the club, rides on yaks, plants a bamboo forest and even spots the secretive red panda. But then the red panda Tilly and her team has been monitoring disappears. Will Tilly be able to help find it, or will her first ever adventure end in disaster? Packed full of illustrations and set as Tilly's own diary, this new series is perfect for young readers who are beginning to read on their own.

Gill Lewis
Chapter book

Sky Dancer is a fabulous read – an emotionally gripping, totally uplifting, captivating story with an important environmental theme. The 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.

Jess French & Angela Keoghan
Non-fiction

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.

Children's books about habitats and animal homes

Rachel Williams & Emily Hawkins
 & Lucy Letherland
Non-fiction
Celebrate the incredible ways in which animals survive in the wild, from epic migrations and extraordinary behaviours to Herculean habits. There are hundreds of things to spot and facts to learn with every turn of the page, as you'll meet another of nature's most adventurous creatures, learning about their amazing behaviours and habitats. Each section begins with an infographic map of the region it explores, followed by richly detailed two-page spreads featuring its most fascinating creatures. You'll get to run with the wildebeest in Kenya, nest with the puffins in Iceland, parade with the peacocks in India, hit the dance floor with the birds of paradise in New Guinea and go north with the narwhals of Canada, among many other adventures.
Colin Dann
Chapter book

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.

Chris Packham
 & Jason Cockcroft
Non-fiction Picturebook
Get ready to meet some fascinating animals and find out all about their incredible homes in this beautiful and informative non-fiction picture book written by wildlife expert and BBC presenter Chris Packham. Just like us, animals need a place to call home. From a beaver's dam and a honey bee's hive to a red ovenbird's nest and a snail's shell, explore the amazing homes of some incredible creatures from all over the world. Uncover extra information about these fascinating animals in the Find Out More section at the back of the book. An excellent source of expert wildlife information for all young nature lovers, this animal book is the perfect introduction to the natural world for children.
Rachel Ignotofsky
Non-fiction
An illustrated tour of our planet's ecosystems both large and small, from reefs, deserts and rainforests to a single drop of water - from the bestselling author of Women in Science . Through exquisite illustrations, maps and infographics, bestselling author Rachel Ignotofsky explains how our planet works, from its incredible ecosystems and the plants and animals that live there to the importance of biodiversity , weather cycles and more. Including information on the dangers of climate change and ideas for how to protect Planet Earth, this utterly charming guide is the perfect gift for all nature-loving readers on the planet we call home.
Jon Richards
 & Josy Bloggs
Non-fiction
This series of stunning illustrated texts demonstrates the stories behind some of nature's greatest phenomena. In 'Habitats', find out about the most extreme ecosystems from around the world, and the weird and wonderful things that exist within them. With contents covering diverse environments and their inhabitants, from the gargantuan trees of the temperate rainforests to the great grazers that occupy tropical grasslands, this book is a wonderful way to learn about a range of habitats. Key information is presented in accessible chunks and accompanied by stunning panoramic illustrations, whilst infographic panels offer the reader memorable bite-sized facts. All animals included in the text are also featured on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. With an interest range of 9-11 years, this book is ideal for children in late-KS2 who are looking to learn more about nature and environments.

Mia Cassany
 & Marcos Navarro
Non-fiction
This captivating book brings the natural world into sharp focus. Beautifully colored and intricately detailed illustrations depict places as exotic and wide-ranging as Senegal’s Niokolo- Koba National Park, Russia’s Sikhote-Alin mountain range, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka, Daintree National Park in Australia, the Mexican desert, and China’s bamboo forests. The animals that live in these remote places, cleverly hidden in the trees, plants, and flowers, create a marvelous challenge for young readers to find and identify. Each spread contains more than twenty different species including birds, snakes, frogs, iguanas, leopards, tigers, gorillas, pandas, and wolves. The back of the book is filled with additional information about the animals and their habitats. Young readers will find much to discover, explore, and learn in this absorbing celebration of our planet and the amazing creatures we share it with.

Booklists you might also like...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your Review

Stone Girl Bone Girl

review

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Would you recommend the book for use in primary schools?

yes

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments