Favorite Animal Fantasy Books and Movies For Young Readers
Favorites of All Time
Fantasy, science fiction and mysteries are my favorite genres and I love animals of all shapes and sizes, so when you put them together, well, I could stay happily occupied for hours. This page contains an annotated bibliography of the animal fantasy books that I liked as a child and still enjoy as an adult.
Some of my all time favorites include Rabbit Hill, Charlotte's Web and Bambi. Today, you can find many print and multimedia versions of these old favorites, as well as plush stuffed animals and other toys, too.
Animal Fantasies and Other Tales
As I looked over the list of my favorite fantasy books about animals, I realized that the majority of them were written for children. Why is that? Perhaps the reason lies in the fact that so many adults lose their sense of wonder and they "stop hearing the bells" (like the children in the Polar Express).
Some cynical people would say it's because some of us just never grow up. Well, I'm proud to say that we are among the delightful number of adults who have a bit of the Peter Pan syndrome. Each day and each interaction with nature and animals is a joyful experience filled with learning with a bit of magic thrown in. We hope that we will never lose this wonder and love for all living things that we have retained from our childhood.
My favorite genres to read for fun are Fantasy and Science Fiction. I enjoy reading a variety of non-fiction books, too. I hope, as a retired school librarian, that I am serving as a good model by being a Lifelong Learner. Catching the reading bug early in life is an important skill and a "hobby" that will serve you as long as you live. Books are an important part of learning, but we must embrace all learning styles, so I have included links to multimedia versions for some of the favorites in the list.
Now, on to our favorite animal fantasies. We hope you enjoy them all.
Tales With Rabbits
Curious Cottontail by naturegirl7
Beatrix Potter Stories
The first animal fantasies for the very young should be those written by Beatrix Potter. The Tale of Peter Rabbit is probably the most familiar, but there are many more delightful stories for the little ones to enjoy like The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (one of my favorites) and the Tale of Two Bad Mice.
The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter is a book that every parent should own. Bedtime stories are so important in developing future readers and provide such a pleasant way to end the day.
The Velveteen Rabbit
Another classic rabbit tale that every young child should hear is the Velveteen Rabbit. It is a magical story about how love can make wishes come true. Since the velveteen rabbit in the story is a stuffed animal, this book is often offered in a plush toy and book boxed set. Read this aloud to a child you love.
A Hoppin' Good Book - Rabbit Hill
We have our own little Georgie, who come clippity-clipping out when my husband goes up the long drive to get the paper each morning. Al always leaves him a little treat of carrots or rabbit chow by the edge of the woods and the little guy usually stays to finish up his snack when he comes back to the house.
To me, the story of the new folks on Rabbit Hill is an early tale of sustainable gardening. Illustrator Robert Lawson and his wife actually lived on the hill and they befuddled the locals with their odd ideas about animals and gardening. It is a lovely story about coexisting with and providing a place for the wild creatures that your home or neighborhood may have displaced.
Rabbit Hill is not just a story with talking animals. It is so much more. It's about respect for all living creatures and it's also about choosing a different path from the others who are around you. And it's about gardening, one of my favorite subjects.
- Sustainable Gardening a la Rabbit Hill
The children's story, Rabbit Hill, teaches lessons about beneficial animals and other sustainable garden concepts. This page contains sustainable gardening photos, information, methods and products.
Bambi by Felix Salten
Salter's classic story about a young deer, coming of age in the forest, should not be missed. Some critics consider it to be the first "ecological" novel. The Disney film version is close to my heart, but the book tells the best story.
- Walt Disney's Bambi Movie Review
Bambi is Walt Disney's fifth animated classic movie. Learn more here on this page.
Tales with Mice and Rats
An adventure story with an unlikely heroine, Mrs. Frisby, a field mouse, who has to brave a visit to the Rats and the Great Owl in order to save her children. There are some delightfully entertaining characters who help her find a way to move her house to safety. This winner of the Newbery Award for children's literature was made into an outstanding animated film which helped to popularize it.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
- The Secret of NIMH
Don Bluth's 1982 film, The Secret of NIMH, is considered by many to be one of the greatest animated features of all time. Based upon the novel by Robert C. O'Brien, the film tells the story of Mrs Brisby and her quest to move her family before the...
Secret of NIMH Trailer
Redwall Series by Brian Jacques
The Circle of Light Series by Neil Hancock is one of my favorites, but is no longer readily available. This series was a predecessor of the Redwall series by Brian Jacques and was geared more towards adults and young adults. If you can find copies at the library or in a second hand bookstore, they are definitely worth reading.
There are many books in the Redwall Series that you can read and enjoy as well as several animated film version of the books are available. I also found an excellent thematic unit of study based on the series of books.
Redwall by Brian Jacques
Redwall is the first of a series of books which tell an epic tale beginning with Redwall Abbey and Matthias, a young male mouse. This is an enthralling series of stories that will keep you on the edge of your seat with every turn of the page. You won't be able to stop with just one.
- Redwall by Brian Jacques
I have to admit British literature is special! Here Brian Jacques excels in developing a fantasy world, set in what resembles English countryside, where all the characters are (talking) animals.
Redwall - part 1 Vid - Just a peek of what's in store for you in Redwall
Lovable Wilbur the Pig, Charlotte the spider, Templeton the Rat and Fern the little girl, join forces in an attempt to save Wilbur from the slaughterhouse and a lasting friendship is born. This delightful story demonstrates how the relationship between humans and animals can be. Charlotte's Web is often used as the focus of a thematic unit of study because of the lessons that it teaches.
- Charlotte's Web Lesson Plans
I've known Charlotte's Web since I was seven. Isn't that the case for so many of us? The story of the amiable pig and the clever spider who saves him never does go out of style. But 2012 proved quite a year for the spider-pig duo -- and not just...
There are audio versions of the book as well as movies that are very well done.
Favorite Animal Fantasies
Which is your favorite?
© 2008 Yvonne L B