Updated: Jan 26
Ever wanted to choose what you might like to read next based on your favorite animal? This is the post for you! Below is a list of reading recommendations that either feature your favorite animal in the story or the animal symbolically represents the particular book’s genre or a certain character. Whether your favorite animal is a cat, a dog, a butterfly or a frog, I hope this post brings you joy and helps you find a new favorite book!
First up, any fellow cat lovers? If your favorite animal is a cat, my book recommendation for you is Coraline by Neil Gaiman!
Coraline is about a young girl who moves with her parents to a new home, the Pink Palace. While exploring, Coraline discovers a door which takes her to another world that mirrors her own, but appears to be a brighter, better version of her own world. Coraline is a thrilling, spooky story about a girl who realizes the age old mantra “be careful what you wish for”, and must use her cleverness and bravery to make her way back home. A lovely character in the story is the Cat, who can talk to Coraline in the Other World and assists her on her journey. (I also highly recommend LAIKA’s stop motion film adaptation of Coraline, which is amazing!)
If your favorite animal is a dog, my book recommendation for you is Vicious by V.E. Schwab!
Vicious is a morally complex story about two college students, Victor and Eli, who discover a way to develop superpowers through near death experiences. Things do not turn out how they had expected, however, and the two become archenemies. Told in alternating points of time from when they were best friends to ten years later when Victor has broken out of prison, the story includes a unique cast of characters that Victor meets along the way as he hunts Eli down. Vicious is the kind of book where you have to know what happens next, and one of the characters is a dog, named Dol, who (with no spoilers) becomes their faithful companion.
Next up, is your favorite animal a fox? If so, I recommend to you the absolutely gorgeous and haunting Beneath the Dead Oak Tree by Emily Carroll!
This is a short graphic novel that packs a powerful punch through beautiful, lyrical poetry. Featuring stunning illustrations of aristocratic foxes, if you like fairytale retellings, this is the perfect story for you to enjoy!
Is your favorite animal a bird? Look no further, I recommend checking out Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo!
Featuring a bird in its title, Six of Crows is a duology and a riveting story featuring six incredibly memorable and unique characters who band together and embark on a dangerous heist to save their world from destruction. Taking place in a fantasy world, Six of Crows is a book that gets your heart pounding and features truly lovable, complex characters with complicated dynamics to say the least. It’s a story with many twists and turns that will give you a thrilling experience!
If your favorite animal is a wolf, I recommend to you Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, which is the second book in her series The Lunar Chronicles, a sci-fi meets fantasy story featuring familiar fairy tale characters in an entirely new setting, story, and world!
You should definitely start with Cinder, the first book in the series (where Cinderella is a cyborg), but the second book in the series is a continuation of Cinder’s story with the addition of the new character Scarlet, whose story is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast.
Fittingly, after Scarlet’s grandmother goes missing, Scarlet meets a mysterious stranger who calls himself Wolf. Becoming unlikely allies, Scarlet embarks on a journey to find her grandmother and becomes entangled in the deeper, darker overarching plot that she would never have imagined. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, science fiction, or fantasy, I highly recommend this series!
Is your favorite animal a bear? Then I recommend This Was Our Pact by Ryan Andrews!
This Was Our Pact is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel about friendship, featuring a friendly talking fisherbear the two boys meet as they go on a quest to see where the lanterns their village sends floating down the river every Autumn Equinox end up. It’s a magical, self-reflective, and lovely story about appreciating the journey and unexpected beauty of things.
Is your favorite animal a snake? My reading rec for you is The Folk of Air series by Holly Black!
Starting with the first book in the series, The Cruel Prince, this is a reading recommendation that can symbolically represent the animal of the snake. The Folk of Air series takes place in a fantasy world where the protagonist, Jude, is a human in a fairy kingdom. She longs for power and is willing to do whatever it takes to rise through the ranks in the fairy realm that is her home. I think this series is fitting for you if your favorite animal is a snake because it’s full of many suspenseful twists as she navigates the politics of her world where she can trust no one, discovering lies and deceit at every thrilling turn.
If you’re a bee lover, I recommend The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern!
How to describe this magical story? The Starless Sea is about an incredible fantasy world featuring magical doors that lead to a secret underground labyrinthe of every book and story throughout time. The main character, Zachary, finds himself becoming entangled in this secret society after discovering a strange book in the library that details one of his own memories in it, as well as a mysterious fate yet to happen to him regarding the Starless Sea. This story is very magical and intricately gorgeous, and I recommend giving it a try!
Is your favorite animal a pig? You should read Circe by Madeline Miller!
A mythological retelling of the sorceress Circe, this book is such a unique retelling of her life and other well known characters in mythology like Prometheus, Odysseus, Hermes, Daedalus, and many more, all from a unique reimagining of Circe’s life and perspective. After being banished to an island for using magic, Circe begins to transform men who wash up on her island and would want to take advantage of her into pigs to protect herself and the nymphs on her island.
Anyone who loves dragons? I recommend The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill!
This is a graphic novel that is absolutely enchanting and adorable! It features fantastical creatures called tea dragons, and after the main character finds and rescues one, she returns it to its owner who offers her an apprenticeship with him. This is a very charming story that will have you wishing for your very own tea dragon!
If you like sharks, the book I recommend for you is Nimona by Noelle Stevenson!
Nimona is a fun graphic novel about a girl who can shapeshift on a whim into whatever she wishes. In one particular instance, she transforms into...you guessed it, a shark! Nimona becomes the sidekick to the supervillain Ballister Blackheart as they try to take down the institution together!
Sticking with sea creatures, do you like lobsters? If your favorite animal is an lobster, I recommend The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid!
Just like how Phoebe from Friends said that lobsters mate for life, in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo you will be trying to figure out who Evelyn truly loved. Told as she is recounting her story in a final interview, Evelyn was a Hollywood movie star who fascinated everyone with her number of marriages and alleged love affairs. As she shares everything with the aspiring journalist, Monique, she sets the record straight in a captivating story about her experiences.
Do you love butterflies? Since butterflies go through the process of being a caterpillar and then turning into a butterfly, I thought this could symbolize coming of age stories where characters grow into and find their true selves. A coming of age story that I recommend is Radio Silence by Alice Oseman!
Radio Silence is about a high school senior named Frances, who has been studying non stop throughout school to be the top of her class. By her senior year, however, with college decisions looming over her and after meeting her friendship-soulmate Aled, she realizes what she has been training for her whole life might not be what she really wants. This a story about finding your own path, and also a comforting story about friendship and love.
Perhaps your favorite animal is a moth? If so, I recommend Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor!
Strange the Dreamer is a magical story about a dreamer and librarian named Lazlo Strange, who has always been fascinated by the city of Weep. After an opportunity presents itself when a man named the Godslayer visits his village, he volunteers to go with him with only his knowledge from books, and finds himself discovering more and more about what happened in Weep, as well as a blue-skinned girl he meets in his dreams. This duology is gorgeously written, and I won’t say how moths come into play so you’ll have to read to find out!
If you love owls, because of the wisdom owls often represent, I recommend The Library Book by Susan Orlean!
This is a spectacular nonfiction book about libraries! Weaved into a captivating story, Orlean provides extensive research and interviews to present the largest library fire in United States history, which occurred in 1986 in LA and the man who was suspected of starting it at the time. A love letter to libraries and books, Orlean shares the history of libraries and how they were shaped into what they are today, as well as detailing the power and importance that they hold.
Do you love amphibians? If your favorite animal is a turtle or a frog, I recommend A Darker Shade of Magic, which is a fantasy trilogy by V.E. Schwab!
The reason I chose A Darker Shade of Magic for amphibian lovers is because animals like turtles and frogs can live on both land and in water. In A Darker Shade of Magic, the main character, Kell, is an Antari, which means that he can, in a similar kind of way, go in between the parallel worlds of the story: Red London, White London, Grey London, and Black London. Kell is one of the last Antari, and, after a visit to one of the Londons goes wrong, he runs into a thief and unlikely friend Lila, from Grey London, and together they have to fix the mess that is caused between the worlds and threatens everything Kell knows and loves.
And last but not least, is your favorite animal an elephant? Elephants have very sociable and attentive personalities, and I don’t know about you, but watching a video of a baby elephant being its adorable self is always a way to lift your spirits! Similarly, my recommendation is The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang!
Young Prince Sebastian is living a double life: prince during the day and dress-wearing Lady Crystallia at night. Sebastian’s beautiful dresses are created by his seamstress Frances, who grows to be his best friend and keeps his secret. This is a sweet graphic novel about identity, acceptance, and friendship that is just really heart warming and lovely!
So that’s all of the animals I thought of for recommending books! I hope you found a book that peaked your interest and had fun reading through this post! Happy reading!
About the Author: Alexceunna Krewson is an aspiring editor and writer with a passion for fairy tales and retellings. She is graduating with an English Studies major from Miami University where she explored creative writing and film studies.