I’m such a sucker for cute forest and woodland animal illustrations in children’s picture books. Do you know the ones I mean? Can you picture them? The animals might have big, bright eyes. The illustrations are generally soft with vivid colours. The seasons are depicted with summer sunshine, bright fall colours, beautiful snowscapes, and pretty spring flowers.
Personification is the literary term for when an author gives human characteristics to things that are not human, such as animals or inanimate objects.
Writers who use this technique in their stories come up with the picture books that I am drawn to the most. I love animal characters and I think it is so fun and child-like to create animals with human traits and personalities.
Here are five of my favourite picture books with woodland animal characters:
Bunny’s Book Club
Written by Annie Silvestro & Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss
Bunny loves books. Bunny also loves listening to the library storytime in the park. But the weather turns colder, so the storytime moves inside the library. How will Bunny attend now? She devises a plan to get inside the library, which brings out the reader and book lover in her friends who help. It’s a wonderful story about the magic and experience of reading. Even animals want to read too!
I loved this book because I am a book lover too, of course. It’s also a wonderful story to share during a library storytime or a library visit with local school children. If you enjoy it, you can also check out Annie Silvestro’s most recent Bunny book, Bunny’s Book Club Goes to School.
The Franklin Series
Written by Paulette Bourgeois & Illustrated by Brenda Clark.
Most everyone knows Franklin. I loved the Franklin books as a child, and I still have an appreciation for the classic stories. I probably read Franklin Fibs and Franklin Plays the Game so many times! I enjoy the colours of the characters in these stories the most, and how the characters are basically real people, but as animals. After all, Franklin is the only turtle I know who walks up straight on two legs! (The only one who plays soccer as well!). But these stories always feature important lessons about manners, friendship, teamwork, and even family life. Plus I think they are very relatable stories for children.
A Lullaby for Little One
Written by Dawn Casey & Illustrated by Charles Fuge
My favourite woodland animals are bunnies. I think they are so cute and soft. So I was smitten by this book at the first sight of its cover. I mean, how sweet are these bunnies’ eyes and facial expressions? It melts my heart.
This is a wonderful bedtime story, with animals who all come out to play as the sun is setting on a lovely spring day. The text is whimsical and dreamy, with rhyming and lyricism to it. It’s a very sweet book. I think it would make a precious gift for families who like to enjoy stories together.
Bear Stays Up for Christmas
Written by Karma Wilson & Illustrated by Jane Chapman
How about a holiday book for the mix? In this story, Bear’s friends gather to help him stay awake to celebrate the Christmas holiday. They keep him busy with holiday traditions so that he forgets he should be hibernating. It’s a lovely story about the meaning of the holiday. In general, this series of books is fantastic. They are my favourite ‘bear’ books for kids. The stories are charming. The writing is rhythmic and fun, and it makes for a great read-aloud too! The illustrations are vivid. The animals look lifelike and realistic. There are several books in this series now, and I recommend them all. My other favourite is Bear Snores On, a great one to read in late Autumn for the hibernation season!
Hedgehog Needs a Hug
Written & Illustrated by Jen Betton
How can you resist giving this happy hedgehog on the cover a hug? After all, everybody needs a hug sometimes, even if they are prickly! That is the message in this heartwarming story and I love this book as a read-aloud. It tells children that everyone is worthy of love and we should always be kind to others. Plus they just might find someone who is needing a hug just as much as them! I loved this book because of its message of kindness and love. I also love hugs! And of all the books included in this list, it has my favourite illustrations.
Do you have a favourite children’s book in this category that I should add to my list? Inspired to check out any of these titles for the kids in your life? Comment below and let me know.