Adorable animals inspire curiosity and affection, captivating readers young and old. Animal protagonists make stories more memorable while also providing a comfortable distance for children to confront deep-seated wishes and fears. These characters offer a fresh outlook, fostering empathy towards those different from oneself. This technique has been employed by authors for centuries in creation tales and fables that neatly package philosophical insights into human nature through the lens of furry and scaly creatures. This month, don the perspective of an animal through our featured book and activity.

Read a book with an animal as the main character and dress up as that animal. What kinds of noises would you make? What kind of home do they live in? How did the animal behave similarly or differently to you? Did they eat the same things? Live in the same types of environments? What did they think about and do?

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

In The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, a rabbit named Peter is very mischievous. He disobeys his mother and sneaks into Mr. McGregor’s garden to eat parsley but is almost caught! Peter narrowly escapes, finally reaching home where he can be tucked into bed. How do you think Peter felt when he was running from Mr. McGregor? How did he feel when he made it home?

Be sure to check out this month’s featured book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, in the “Building Readers” gallery in Building Stories.

Suggested Books

Grades K-2
Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Frederick by Leo Lionni
Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato

Grades 3-8
Redwall by Brian Jacques
Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Watership Down by Richard Adams
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Adults
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile by Verlyn Klinkenborg
The White Bone by Barbara Gowdy
The Bees by Laline Paull
The Art of Dancing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Me Cheeta: The Autobiography by James Lever

Building Readers Club is supported by the DC Public Library Foundation and The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.