Round Up: New Animal Themed Picture Books Published in 2021

(AD Gifted) Whether it’s cats, dogs or dragons, picture books with animals on the cover appeal to my children and are guaranteed to get picked up for a read.  Using animals to tell a story is the perfect way to introduce ideas to children in a way that is often easier to understand and more engaging than having the characters as humans. 

If you are looking for new picture books to give as gifts or to read with your own children then these books, all first published in 2021, are great choices.

Two children looking at a pile of new picture books with animals in
Choosing which new animal themed picture book to read


New Animal Themed Picture Books


Ruffles and The Teeny Tiny Kittens

by David Melling 


Ruffles is a dog whose home has been invaded by 5 little kittens. Ruffles isn’t happy about this. He finds the kittens annoying and this comes to a head when they ruin his favourite blanket. Fortunately he soon realises the kittens aren’t so bad and he grows to love them (most of the time).


This is a good book for a child that has a new baby as it introduces the idea that while siblings can be annoying and break things they are also good company and fun to play with.

Available from Nosy Crow.

Reading Ruffles and the teeny tiny kittens. A book about how siblings can be annoying but they will grow to love them
Ruffles and the Teeny Tiny Kittens


The Cat and the Rat and the Hat

Written by Em Lynas and Illustrated by Matt Hunt


A bit of a tongue twister of a book where the pictures are a key part of the story. It’s about a cat and a rat who fight over a hat until suddenly a bat in a fancy cravat appears and then the cat and rat want the cravat instead (leaving the bat to fly off with the hat).


Most of the words in this book are short and repeated so it would be a good book to read with early readers (helping them with the occasional longer word). It is also a great book to use to encourage children to explain what is happening, checking their comprehension eg how did the cat get the hat? What has happened to rat here?


The book comes with a free Stories Aloud smartphone audio book accessed by scanning a QR code at the beginning. Simply scan and a website opens where you can play the audio book. There is a ping to indicate it’s time to turn the page and it gives you time to look at the pictures too. 

Available from Nosy Crow.

Reading The cat and the hat and the rat
The Cat and the Rat and the Hat


This Is Not A Unicorn

Written by Barry Timms, Illustrated by Ged Adamson


Written with rhyme this book introduces you to a horse like creature with rainbow hair and a magical horn on it’s head, but it’s not a unicorn. It turns out it’s actually a You-nicorn, but you’ll have to read the story to find out why. 


Using word play this book reminds me of how my children use many of their toys, they are not just the item they are intended to be, or used how they are to be expected to be, but pretty much anything their imagination can come up with.


Comes with a free Stories Aloud smartphone audio book by scanning a QR code at the beginning. 

Available from Nosy Crow.

Example pages from This is not a unicorn book eg it's a skip-icorn
This Is Not A Unicorn Book


When a Dragon Meets a Baby

Written by Caryl Hart and Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw


Little dragons are apparently the perfect big sister when their baby sibling comes home. They are helpful, kind and patient and only get slightly upset when the baby cries or at bedtime when they have to leave the baby dragon alone to sleep.


This book would be good to give to a child before a baby sibling arrives. It suggests lots of ways they might feel like: wanting to play with guests there to see the baby or wanting to sit on mummy’s knee when they can’t because the baby is being fed. I like that it recognises the feelings new big siblings have and has lots of ideas of what they can do which will be helpful. While it’s great that “Dragons don’t do that!”, children will feel the ways identified and so it’s really useful to use this book to talk through how they might feel and I would suggest pointing out that they aren’t a dragon so it’s ok to feel that way.

Comes with a free Stories Aloud smartphone audio book by scanning a QR code at the beginning. 


Example page from When A Dragon Meets A Baby
When A Dragon Meets A Baby



Disclosure: Books gifted by Nosy Crow

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