STEP-UP READERS (Grades 2-3)
*Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Three farmers, each one meaner than the others, try all-out warfare to get rid of Mr. Fox and his family. 81 pgs.
Robi Dobi by Madhur Jaffrey
An Indian elephant befriends a mouse, a butterfly, and a parrot. Together they have many adventures. 76 pgs.
I’ll Meet You at the Cucumbers by Lilian Moore
Country mice Adam and Junius go for a visit to the city, where Adam despairs when his dear friend admits he might like to stay. 63 pgs.
Rosa Farm: A Barnyard Tale by Liz Wu
With his father away at the fair, a young rooster must fill in and crow to bring the sun up. When the geese play a mean trick on him and then kidnap his little sister, it takes several of the farm animals working together to teach the geese a lesson. 134 pgs.
J FICTION (Grades 3-6)
Pearl’s Promise by Frank Asch
With her brother in the clutches of a python in a pet shop, Pearl, a white mouse, vows to save him. 152 pgs. (Also look for Pearl’s Pirates.)
*The Good Dog by Avi
McKinley, a malamute, is torn between the domestic world of his human family and the wild world of Lupin, a wolf that is trying to recruit dogs to replenish his dwindling wolf pack. 243 pgs.
Kilroy and the Gull by Nathaniel Benchley
Captured and trained to be a Marineland sensation, Kilroy the killer whale escapes to life on the open sea with his friend Morris the sea gull. 118 pgs.
The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney
Humphrey, a pet hamster at Longfellow School, learns that he has an important role to play in helping his classmates and teacher. 124 pgs.
*A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
From the day he is found at a London railway station with a tag that pleads, “Please look after this bear,” Paddington is seldom far from disaster. 128 pgs. (Look for other titles in this series.)
*The Mouse & the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
A reckless young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy in room 215 of the Mountain View Inn and discovers the joys of motorcycling. 158 pgs. (Look for other titles featuring Ralph)
*The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
This is the timeless tale of the escapades of Mole, Water Rat, Badger, and Toad, four animal friends who live along a river in the English countryside. 226 pgs.
*Redwall by Brian Jacques
The peaceful ways of Redwall Abbey, long a refuge for the mice, change as Cluny the Scourge, a one-eyed rat, takes over. 352 pgs.
Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith
Babe is destined for Farmer Hogget’s dinner table until Fly, the sheepdog begins coaching him in sheepherding. 118 pgs. (Look for other titles by this author.)
*Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
The tale of what happens to the small creatures of Rabbit Hill when they learn that new folks are moving into the big, empty house. 128 pgs.
*Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH by Robert O’Brien
Having no one to help her with her problems, a widowed mouse visits the rats of NIMH, whose former imprisonment in a laboratory has made them wise. 233 pgs. (Two sequels: Racso & the Rats of NIMH & R-T, Margaret & the Rats of NIMH, both by Jane Conly.)
I, Freddy by Dietlof Reiche
Freddy, the remarkably intelligent golden hamster learns how to read and use a computer, then escapes captivity to go out on his own. 192 pgs. (Look for other titles featuring Freddy.)
The Daring Adventures of Penhaligon Brush
by S. Jones Rogan
When Penhaligon Brush the fox is summoned to the seaside town of Porthleven, he finds that his brother has been thrown into the dungeon at Ferball Manor by the evil cat Sir Derek. He also learns that Sir Derek is planning to steal ships from the princess of Spatavia. Brush teams up with a charming family of hedgehogs, some orphaned wolf cubs, and others to hatch a brilliant plan to save the princess. 230 pgs.
*The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
The adventures of a country cricket who unintentionally arrives in New York and is befriended by Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat. 132 pgs. (Look for other titles by this author.)
*Abel’s Island by William Steig
Cast away on an uninhabited island, Abel, a very civilized mouse, finds his resourcefulness and endurance tested as he struggles to survive and return to his home. 119 pgs. (Look for other titles by this author.)
Pete and Fremont by Jenny Tripp
When circus owner Mike decides Pete the poodle has grown too old to continue as the starring act, Pete hopes to convince the recently acquired grizzly bear, Fremont, to join him in a new act, but Fremont only wants to go back home to the woods. 180 pgs.
Isabel of the Whales by Hester Velmans
On a whale watch trip with her fifth-grade class off the coast of Cape Cod, Isabel falls overboard. Instead of drowning, she finds herself swimming underwater with whales all around her. Adopted by a pod of humpbacks, she discovers that she is one of the Chosen who can change shape from human to whale and back again. 181 pgs.
The Legend of Thunderfoot by Bill Wallace
On the day of naming, parents of young roadrunners judge the speed, courage, and hunting skills of their offspring and choose fitting names for them. One young fledgling makes a mistake and gets bit by a rattler. Though he survives the attack his feet swell up and he gets the humiliating name of Thunderfoot. With the help of a wise old gopher tortoise, he finds the courage to go forward and seek his destiny. 150 pgs.
The Flying Flea, Callie, and Me by Carol Wallace
Gray, a little kitten, adopts a baby mockingbird that falls out of its nest. He names the bird Flea. With the help of Callie, an older, wiser cat, Gray comes up with a plan to teach Flea to fly. 85 pgs.
*The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White
Knowing how to read and write is not enough for Louis, a voiceless trumpeter swan; his determination to learn to play a stolen trumpet takes him far from his wilderness home. 210 pgs. (Look for other titles by this author.)
Little Wolf’s Book of Badness by Ian Whybrow
Little Wolf has been behaving too nicely, so his parents send him to his uncle’s Big Bad Wolf school to learn to be a proper wolf. 130 pgs. (Look for other titles by this author.)
JH FICTION (Grades 6-8)
Ratha’s Creature by Clare Bell
A society of intelligent cats pushed close to extinction meets an enemy band of predatory cats in a decisive battle, which will determine the future of both. 259 pgs. (Also look for Ratha and Thistle-Chaser.)
*The Warm Place by Nancy Farmer
When Ruva, a young giraffe, is captured and sent to a zoo, she calls upon two rats, a street-smart chameleon, a runaway boy, and all the magical powers of the animal world to return to the warm place that is home. 152 pgs.
Sign of the Dove by Susan Fletcher
As the last of the dragon eggs, laid long ago, begin to hatch, Lyb reluctantly tries to save both the dragon mothers and their newly born children from their enemies. 214 pgs. (Also look for Dragon’s Milk.)
*Coyote’s in the House by Elmore Leonard
Buddy's an aging movie star. Antwan's a coyote, a rough-and-tumble loner. Miss Betty, the show girl, is a princess. Though Antwan's the leader of his pack and loves hanging in the hills, feasting from Hollywood's choicest garbage cans, he's too curious a coyote to turn down his new friend Buddy's invitation to see how the other half lives. Convincing his new human family he's a mysterious pooch named Timmy, Antwan quickly becomes part of the brood, and the adventures begins. 149 pgs.
City of Dogs by Livi Michael
Jenny, a mysterious dog, shows up on Sam's birthday and is happily taken in. At first, Jenny feels safe in her new home, but then she realizes there’s danger about. She pulls together a ragtag band of neighborhood dogs to help her in her quest to prevent the destruction of the world. 250 pgs.