Jun 202024
Ananya’s Tails of Friendship! #kbcbookbingo2024 (4-8 years)
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Ananya has always been a big-time animal lover. She always wanted to have her own pet – one day she would demand the need for a dog or a cat while other days she would negotiate with me to bring home at least a bird or a rabbit or JUST a goldfish. I have managed to dodge her ask many times over the years citing different reasons to NOT have one at home (personal limitations!). Having said that, books about animals have deepened her love for them even more. This year’s book bingo (AND our FIRST one!) has got our furry book friends out to the world. Our listicle – “Tails of Friendship” seamlessly intertwines the realms of animals/ birds and humans, celebrating the magic of friendship and empathy.

We have always been readers but joining KBC last year has helped us enhance our love for reading with its varied book recommendations, encouraging our creative and social skills while fostering lifelong friendships – and the journey has just started!

There’s something truly magical about the way stories featuring our furry, feathered, and scaled friends can captivate young hearts and ignite their imagination. I hope you enjoy this listicle as much as we did. Wishing everyone to keep exploring the wonders of the natural world – Happy Furry ‘Tail’ Reading, everyone!

Presenting our favourite books centered around human-animal relationships

1. Inni & Bobo – Head to School

Author: Soha Ali Khan & Kunal Khemmu; Illustrator: Rituparna Sarkar; Publisher: Penguin; Recommended Age: 3-7 years

The story revolves around Inni & Bobo’s relationship. Bobo is a puppy adopted by Inni and her family. The story describes a day in Inni’s life when it was a “Bring your pet to school” day where Inni gets to take Bobo to school. A delightful, cute little story book that delves into everlasting friendship between humans & pets.

2. Irwin Rocks with the Crocs

Author: Neha Bhagat; Illustrator: Manju Mariya T; Publisher: White Falcon; Recommended Age: 4-8 years

The story is about a boy named Irwin who longs to have a crocodile as pet. His parents advise him that crocodiles can hurt him and they don’t have emotions. However, Irwin continues to fantasize having a pet crocodile until one day he travels to a secret land where ponds are bubbling with warm, friendly crocodiles. Dedicated to Steve Irwin “The Crocodile Hunter” & Pocho – the famous American crocodile who showed the world that even crocodiles can love and respond to kindness. This book makes you believe in the goodness of one and all.

3. MOG’s Birthday

Author: Judith Kerr; Publisher: Harper Collins; Recommended Age: 2-7 years

The story unfolds as Mog’s family prepares to throw a birthday party for their furry friend. However, MOG (the cat) does not like parties and birthdays. A delightful celebration of friendship, family, and the joy of being together. Illustrations deserve a special mention – MOG seems so alive every time, every page that we see him in the book. So, grab a slice of cake, and join Mog and his family for a birthday celebration that is bound to warm your heart and leave you smiling long after the final page has been turned.

There are many other books in this MOG SERIES.

4. Spreading my Wings

Author: Nadiya Hussain; Illustrator: Ella Bailey; Publisher: Hachette; Recommended Age: 4-7 years

The story is about a boy and his bird Rayf who loves sitting on the boy’s shoulder. Rayf is his best friend who accompanies the boy everywhere. The boy joins a holiday club and observes his other friends without a bird. There is an urge to fit in with others and he keeps the bird in his coat pocket hiding it from the world. A heart-warming story about self-acceptance, self-discovery urging everyone to be proud of themselves and their loved ones.

5. Curious George Saves His Pennies

Author: Monica Perez; Illustrator: Mary O’Keefe Young; Publisher: Harper Collins; Recommended Age: 3-7 years

This story revolves around George’s love for a new toy train engine worth $5. Seeing him desperate, the man in the yellow hat suggests that George should start saving up his money – that way he could buy the toy train himself. George charts a plan, works odd jobs and finally saves up $5 to buy the train. Satisfied with this feat, he is on his way to the toy shop but gets distracted in the park (monkeys love playtime!) and misplaces the piggy bank with the saved-up money. Disappointed George reaches the shop to find a girl – Hana holding his piggy bank. Will he reward Hana as she kept his belonging safe? Will this be a beginning to a new friendship? With its engaging storyline, lovable characters, and exquisite illustrations, this is a timeless classic book that continues to captivate readers of all ages.

There are lots of other books in the Curious George series on first experiences.

6. Zog and the Flying Doctors

Author: Julia Donaldson; Illustrator: Alex Scheffler; Publisher: Alison Greens/ Scholastic; Recommended Age: 3-7 years

Here is Team Air Ambulance – a dragon named “Zog”, a knight named “Gadabout the Great”, and a princess named “Princess Pearl” to help assist anyone who is in distress. Pearl gives medicines/ pills, Gadabout is an expert in surgeries while Zog is an expert in flying. They soar across the kingdom tending to the needs of injured creatures big and small. Patients can be anyone ranging from a mermaid with a splinter to a unicorn with a cold; every patient they encounter presents a new challenge that tests their skills and determination. As Zog and his friends come to the aid of those in need, they demonstrate the importance of lending a helping hand and showing compassion towards others, regardless of their differences.

7. The Storm Whale

Author: Benji Davies; Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Recommended Age: 4-8 years

A beautifully crafted children’s book that tells the touching story of a young boy named Noi and his extraordinary friendship with a stranded baby whale. Noi lived by the sea with his dad and six cats. Despite his father’s reluctance to keep the whale, Noi secretly brings it home and cares for it in his bathtub, forming a deep bond with the gentle creature. The story explores themes such as loneliness, compassion, and the power of human connection. As the story unfolds, Noi learns valuable lessons about friendship and resilience, ultimately discovering that love knows no bounds.

8. Animal Rescue – Reading Heroes

Publisher: Parragon; Recommended Age: 4-7 years

Sam & Sophie love looking after their pet animals. This book has 4 short stories on how they take care of their pets like Fudge, the hamster having babies or Digger, the dog getting adopted. An ideal book for early readers with fun activities at the end to enhance their vocabulary.

9. How to Hide a Lion at School

Author: Helen Stephens; Publisher: Scholastic; Recommended Age: 4-7 years

Iris, a young girl went everywhere with her friendly lion. When it’s time for Iris to go to school, she faces the dilemma of how to hide her lion friend from the strict headteacher. Iris and the lion embark on a series of hilarious attempts to disguise him as various objects around the school, from a backpack to a mop as well as a mummy. A delightful book that combines humour, imagination, and heartwarming friendship into a charming story that captivates both children and adults alike.

10. Don’t Disturb the Dragon

Author: Rhiannon Findlay; Illustrator: Sian Roberts; Publisher: Penguin; Recommended Age: 4-7 years

In this charming story, readers are introduced to a cozy forest where a dragon sleeps peacefully. However, when the princess’s little brother crawls away from the palace, she embarks on an expedition to investigate and get him back home safely. What follows is a tale of friendship when you least expected it. With its engaging storyline and colourful illustrations, it’s the perfect choice for a cozy, fun bedtime story.

11. The Detective Dog

Author: Julia Donaldson; Illustrator: Sara Ogilvie; Publisher: Macmillan; Recommended Age: 4-7 years

In this heartwarming story, readers are introduced to Nell, a lovable dog who accompanies her owner, Peter, to school every day. Nell has a keen sense of smell and a knack for sniffing out clues. When books start disappearing from the school library, Nell uses her detective skills to crack the case. This book is an amazing concoction of books, dogs and all things love!

12. The Crocodile Under the Bed

Author: Judith Kerr; Publisher: Harper Collins; Recommended Age: 3-5 years

Tom is sad as his parents and sister are attending the queen’s birthday party without him. While he is being watched by his grandpa, Tom discovers a crocodile hiding under his bed. At first, he is alarmed by the presence of a crocodile in his room, but he soon realizes that the crocodile is not as fearsome as he seems. In fact, the crocodile proves to be friendly and takes him flying far away to the king’s party – King of the Jungle! Judith Kerr’s distinctive artwork brings the characters and their surroundings to life in vivid detail. A delightful story that takes readers on an imaginative adventure filled with humor, friendship, and unexpected surprises.

13. Kitten Trouble

Author: Bijal Vachharajani; Illustrator: Rajiv Eipe; Publisher: Duckbill; Recommended Age: 5-8 years

This is a story of Sani who is terrified of animals – dogs, cats, cows. But her mother just got home a cat from the vegetable market. How will Sani manage now that the cat is in her home?  A rib-tickling story of how Sani fights her inner fears to finally accept, love and be inseparable from this lovely fur ball.

14. The Gopi Diaries – Coming home

Author: Sudha Murty; Illustrator: Sandhya Prabhat; Publisher: Harper Collins; Recommended Age: 5-8 years

This is a story of a dog called Gopi and his loving human family who adopt him. The book takes us through the transition of a small fur ball to become an intrinsic part of a family who understands everything in the world. A chapter book written from a dog’s perspective which reinforces why pets are so loving and precious. The illustrations are eye-catching making every reader want to have a Gopi at home!

15. Animals in the House

Author: Ruskin Bond; Illustrator: Saumya Oberoi; Publisher: Puffin; Recommended Age: 6-8 years

In this captivating chapter book, Ruskin Bond introduces readers to a diverse cast of characters, both human and animal, whose lives intersect in unexpected ways. From the mischievous monkeys that roam the rooftops to the loyal dogs that guard the gates, each story is a testament to the unique relationship between humans and the natural world. This is a book that will appeal to readers of all ages.

That was our top 15. There are some additional related reading which we love dearly and wanted to share with you as they are must haves!

16. Uncle Nehru, please send an Elephant!

Author: Devika Cariapa; Illustrator: Satwik Gade; Publisher: Tulika; Recommended Age: 5-8 years

Set in 1947, children from Tokyo write a letter to Nehru ji asking if he could send over an elephant from India – they have never seen an elephant! This request came at a time when India as a newly independent country was facing multitude of challenges. How can Uncle Nehru refuse this request, especially from children? Indira, a special elephant from Mysore was sent over in a freighter ship to Tokyo as India’s ambassador of peace and a symbol of friendship between Japanese and Indian people. Similar requests started flowing in leading to how Ambika, Murugan, Asha and others became India’s BIG gifts to the world. The book also touches upon the struggles elephants might have undergone, given they are sensitive creatures with deep familial attachments. Having said that, a lovely picture book that introduces India’s first prime minister to children through his unique elephant diplomacy.

This book is available in Indian languages as well.

17. There’s a Leopard in my house

Author: Vaishali Shroff; Illustrator: Urvashi Dubey; Publisher: Daffodil Lane; Recommended Age: 4-8 years

Leela comes home from school and finds a leopard opening the door for her instead of her mom. The leopard says it’s her house. Whose house, is it? With ever rising land prices and depleting forest covers such instances have become much more common in many major cities. Authored by award winning Vaishali Shroff, this story touches upon the importance of safeguarding our forest covers and teaching our kids the consequences of environmental degradation.

18. The Adventures of Padma and A Blue Dinosaur

Author: Vaishali Shroff; Illustrator: Suvidha Mistry; Publisher: Harper Collins; Recommended Age: 6-9 years

A young girl called Padma and her grandmother discover that the flatland where they graze their cows was once home to dinosaurs that lived in India 66 million years ago. Padma’s uncle, whom she fondly refers to as Rock Uncle, is a dinosaur expert and gifts her his prized discovery – a beautiful dinosaur egg. The characters – Padma, her grandmother, Rock uncle & baby dinosaur “Bluethingosaurus” take us on a delightful journey along River Narmada in Central India. The book has an exciting mix of fiction & non-fictional details about the dinosaurs found in India. If your kid loves dinosaurs, then this is one must-have book in your shelf.

19. The World’s Worst Pets

Author: David Williams; Illustrator: Adam Stower; Publisher: Harper Collins; Recommended Age: 7 years+

While most pets are cute and cuddly, some pets cause devastation, distress and despair. This David William’s book is a hilarious and imaginative children’s book that introduces readers to a crew of misbehaving animals. Whether its Furp the FISH or Picasso the Pony, each story is filled with humor, wit, and unexpected twists. We had truckloads of laughter while reading each story. With its witty storytelling, vibrant illustrations, and unforgettable characters, this book will surely become a favourite among readers of all ages.

20. How did I catch a Unicorn?

Author: Steve Herman; Publisher: DG Books; Recommended Age: 5-8 years

The story is about how Allie, who has major anger issues, contemplates that maybe having a pet unicorn is the answer to her happiness. But how will she get a unicorn – you can’t buy a unicorn from a pet shop! You need to patiently wait for one to come to you. Allie waits, waits and finally has a unicorn at her door but the unicorn won’t let her ride on her until Allie works on her anger issues. Written in a comic form, the book is a must-have for all unicorn lovers.

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