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Learn about woodland critters and rescued animals in children’s books

Wildlife & Children’s Literature

Children’s literature and woodland creatures are inextricably linked. When we look back at notable classics such as Stuart Little, Peter Rabbit, Make Way for Ducklings, Frog and Toad — they all feature charming animals as main characters. This tradition of fuzzy, feathered, spikey, and slippery animals on the pages of children’s books is still going strong. New favorites such as The Warrior cat series, The One and Only Ivan, Peppa Pig and the Owl Diaries are always flying off of the library shelves.

Whether in books, in our backyard, or in a forest, animals bring us so much joy. One group of people who are especially enthusiastic about animals will be visiting the library for a special program: The Wildlife in Need Center. The center provides medical care to injured, orphaned or sick Wisconsin wildlife. During their visit, they will bring along some animals native to the area and share how the animals are rescued and rehabilitated. The event is on Monday, June 27 at 1:00 PM and is suitable for all ages!

In the meantime, your family can check out books to read and learn about woodland creatures and rescued animals. The handpicked list below has books for all different ages.  

In the Woods (2020)

by David Elliott

The animals in the dark woods are secretive, their inner lives a mystery. The stealthy bobcat, the inquisitive raccoon, and the dignified bear waking up from his winter nap are just a few of the glorious animals featured in this clever collection of poems and woodland scenes.

Woodland Dreams (2020)

by Karen Jameson

In rhyming text, a little girl and her dog wander through the woods, saying goodnight to all her favorite wild animals before finally arriving at her own cabin for a good night’s sleep.

Home Builders (2019)

by Varsha Bajaj

Welcome to a serene woodland where lots of expectant animal parents are in their “nesting” phase–that is, busy preparing safe, cozy homes for their growing families. As they dig, tunnel, gnaw, and gather, they create dens, burrows, lodges, and, of course, nests. Soon the woods are full of new little ones peeping, crawling, romping, and snuggling.

Let’s Go To the Nature Center (2021)

by Lisa Amstutz

It’s fall, and it’s time to visit a nature center! Take a close look at nature, learn how to take care of the environment, and have fun doing some nature activities too. Through playful text and beautiful images, kids will experience what it’s like to visit a nature center.

This Way, Charlie (2020)

by Caron Levis

Jack, an introverted goat, and Charlie, a blind horse, meet at Open Bud Ranch, an animal rehabilitation center, and form an unlikely friendship that grows stronger in the face of adversity. Jack leads Charlie to and from the pasture and barn each day. Based on true events at the Wild Heart Ranch Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation center in Oklahoma.

Rescue at Lake Wild (2021)

by Terry Lynn Johnson

Twelve-year-old Madison Lewis is not allowed to bring home any more animals. After harboring hairless mice, two birds, a rabbit and a tomcat that ended up destroying the front porch, Madi is forbidden from inviting any more strays. But when her two best friends rescue beaver kits whose mother was killed, they find themselves at the center of a local conspiracy that’s putting the beavers and their habitats in danger. As Madi and her friends race to uncover the mystery, she must put her animal whisperer skills to the test by raising the orphaned beaver kits.

Wind Riders Series (2021)

by Jen Marlin

After discovering Wind Rider, an abandoned magical sailboat, Max and Sofia travel all over the world to different habitats. They help to protect sea turtles in Hawaii, scarlet macaws in the Amazon and seals from an oil spill in Scotland. Each book includes facts about the featured animal species.

A Boy Called Bat (2017)

by Elana K. Arnold

When his veterinarian mom brings home a stray baby skunk that needs rehabilitation before it can be placed in a wild animal shelter, Bat, who has autism, resolves to prove that he is up to the challenge of caring for the skunk permanently.

Flora & Ulysses (2013)

by Kate DiCamillo

Rescuing a squirrel after an accident involving a vacuum cleaner, comic-reading cynic Flora Belle Buckman is astonished when the squirrel, Ulysses, demonstrates astonishing powers of strength and flight after being revived. A delightful read by award-winning author Kate DiCamillo.

The Dimwood Forest Series (1999-2020)

by Avi

At the very edge of Dimwood Forest stands an old charred oak. A great horned owl, Mr. Ocax, waits there. With his piercing gaze, he surveys the lands he calls his own, watching for the creatures he considers his subjects. None dares disobey him, until the night a courageous deer mouse name Poppy makes a stand, only to find herself in terrible danger. To lead her family to a better life, will Poppy battle Mr. Ocax to the end?

A Bird Will Soar (2021)

by Alison Green Myers

After a tornado, Axel, who loves birds, finds an injured eaglet, and helps to rescue it–and also helps to resolve the problems in his broken family, and draw his father back home.