Bedtime stories about animals can be some of the most exciting reads for any child before bed. Whether you are delving into the wonderful world of Farthing Wood, or exploring the magic of Artemis Fowl as he tackles a hidden universe of fairies and dwarves, in true child genius fashion. The act of reading works of such incredible imagination will boost the creativity and outlook of any child.
Below you will find a list of books that open up the wonderful world of bedtime stories about animals and imaginary creatures, for more suggestions, please see our Bedtime Story Finder.
Alternatively, take a look at our bedtime story topic page.
The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers
There’s a peculiar mystery going on down in the woods: tree branches keep disappearing and the animals’ houses are being destroyed. Bewildered, the animals rally together in a determination to catch the branch-thief. Suddenly, one of them spots a clue: a paper aeroplane. Where did this come from? The police are called and eventually the culprit is caught. But what happens next? Join in this detective hunt and help the creatures of the forest solve the Great Paper Caper to find the missing link!
This Little Chick by John Lawrence
It’s the little chick’s first day playing on the farm. His brothers and sisters all want to stay nestled up with mum but he’s out for adventure. Join him as he learns to imitate the sounds of animals of all shapes and sizes in fantastic rhyming verse. Hop along with the frogs, follow the sheep about and strut out with the smelly pigs. John Lawrence, a wood carver as well as illustrator, brings this story to life in bold and bright images that will delight and amuse children and parents alike.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Join young Max on an adventurous encounter with numerous and wonderfully Wild Things; to be filled too, of course, with lots of wild rumpus! This is a hugely popular classic which encourages children’s imaginations whilst allowing for lots of interaction as they pretend, naturally, to be Wild Things themselves. Packed full of adventure, with beautiful language and a story which will promote lots of discussion. This is a fantastic read to help release the wild side in any and all of us!
The Tiger who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
It’s not everyday that a tiger calls at your door, wanting to join you for tea. But that is exactly what happens to Sophie and her mummy in this delightful classic of a children’s story. Watch the greedy tiger as he eats all the food, and drinks all the water (not forgetting all of daddy’s beer!) and see how Sophie’s family react to this unusual guest. A lovely story for all the family to enjoy.
This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
A follow-on to I Want My Hat Back, this story is about a little fish who steals a hat from a big fish and thinks he can get away with it. He believes he’s perfectly justified in stealing the hat because he thinks it suits him better than it did the big fish. But the big fish notices the missing hat and chases after the little fish. The little fish hides and, although a crab has seen him, he trusts the crab to keep his secret safe. But will the crab stay true to his word? What will happen to the little fish?!
A Surprise for Tiny Mouse by Petr Horácek
Join tiny mouse on one BIG adventure! Explore her world with your little one in this interactive wheel-spinning story as she discovers different types of weather. Tiny Mouse loves to play outside, listening to the crackle of leaves in the wind and nibbling on corn in the sunshine but when the rain comes out, she escapes to her mouse hole. Can you find the reason she’d want to come back out? This is a beautiful story with a surprise to come at the end!
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet… .so begins this classic lift the flap board book; a book you will want to share with your young child again and again. Lift the flaps together to discover the animals the zoo has sent: a monkey, a lion and even an elephant! But will they ever send the perfect pet? Have lots of fun making animal noises and guessing which animal is in the cage. You will have to read the book to find out which is the perfect pet but even when you know you will want to read Dear Zoo again and again and again.
From Head to Toe by Eric Carle
From the writer of the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar – among 70 other books – comes another beautifully illustrated picture book, this time introducing children to lots of different animals. Our fascinating characters include a penguin, a giraffe and a buffalo. As we are shown how these animals move, children will be encouraged to see if they can move their bodies in the same way. A fun book for you and your child to share, this is a great option whether just before bed or when you’re all still full of the day’s energies.
Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith
Full of energy, you’ll be reminded with this book of the fairy tale classic, Little Red Riding Hood, though Alex Smith’s twist places Little Red in an African safari landscape, this time keen to avoid being eaten by a lion. Colourful and delightfully fun, you’ll find there’s a whole array of exotic creatures to be discovered before you even get to him. At the crux of the story however, Little Red – more feisty perhaps than ever – will help your little ones think about the value of manners, as she manages finally to teach that naughtily hungry lion a lesson.
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
A wonderfully heart-warming story of Gerald, a giraffe who longs to dance along with the other animals at the Jungle Dance, but who struggles to find his own rhythm and – like so many of us – the confidence to get into his own flow. Full of beautiful illustrations, there is lots to spot on every page of this book, and the words themselves are a great mix of both inspiration and fun. This is a great story for enabling discussion of feelings of embarrassment, shyness or being left out, with a lovely positive message to inspire each one of you to get up and don your dancing shoes!
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Perhaps better known in the USA, this timeless story celebrates its 70th anniversary next year. It tells the story of a young rabbit settling down to sleep – but not before saying goodnight to just about anyone and everything! Understated illustrations accompany the gentle rhythm of the words, making for a calming and relaxing read, and you’ll also have great fun trying to spot the mouse on each page. A perfect book to share with little ones at the end of the day.
What was your favourite animal character from a book? Let us know which one in the comments!