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10 Unique Animal Books in French for Your Little Ones

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Jorge Sette found this witty
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Confidants, playmates, best friends; for small children, animals are important companions along life's winding path. Here's a merry menagerie for your little ones, featuring furry (and not-so-furry) friends including bees and bears, frogs and sloths, canaries and camels... and even earthworms.


You'll enjoy sharing these sweet and memorable books with your little ones, helping them to learn French as they follow the imaginative adventures of their animal friends.

Bonjour petite abeille !

The Mes premières histoires animées series introduces a new animal in each book, with pull-out and moveable tabs especially made for small children's grips. 

Who lives in a bee hive? Bzz! Bzz! It's the bee! A little bee comes out of the hive, hanging from a tree. She flies off over the flowers. Which one will she forage? She collects nectar and heads back into the bee hive to make honey. 

For ages 2 and up.

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Mélimélanimo

The concept behind this mixed-up album? Each page is split into three, allowing children to pick the head of one animal, the body of another, and the paws of a third. Your small reader can laugh at these new creature creations: a rhinoceros in a pink tutu, a fox who's knitting... the options are endless. The icing on the cake: your little one can also admire the creatures from behind. 

For ages 2 and up.  

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L'ascenseur de Petit Paresseux

This vertical book creates a dynamic reading experience for smaller children. It tells the story of the sloth's slow descent  from a tree into a water puddle, and then his unexpected rise to the top of the tree thanks to a jet of water from an elephant's trunk. 

In his journey, the sloth encounters his friends the eagles, flying squirrels and nimble monkeys. He will also encounter a very tempting cluster of fruits which could lead him astray... 

For ages 3 and up.

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Trois petits chats

These three cats add a touch of silliness to their quiet daily life. And it makes for a lot of fun! Want some fried eggs? Ask the Easter Bunny. Need to go shopping? The dog will push the wheelbarrow. The stories break down into fun short sketches, led by mischievous little kittens, conveniently named One, Two, and Three. 

For ages 3 and up. 

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Henri le Canari

Henri only wants one thing: to be free. Life in a cage just isn't for him. He dreams of travelling the world. Merlin the Blackbird agrees to help. They fly off on a long journey to the Canary Islands! 

Henri is delighted. The islands are populated by thousands of his counterparts, and in no time he makes many new friends, and even finds love. Lulu the Turtle, Apollon the Cricket, and Ursule the Dragonfly—to name only a few—each illustrate a different character trait, making this an ideal book to turn to when it comes to dealing with other little friends.

 For ages 3 and up. 

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La piscine magique

His majesty the lion invites a select few friends to enjoy his royal (and magical) pool. That's right, magical—and the king of the jungle wants to show it off. As soon as you yell out your wish, the pool will make it come true. The Marquise de Cochon wishes for a perfume bath. The bear asks for a pool of honey, and the seal wants his own ice floe. The queen gets jealous, and in a rage she slips off the diving board while yelling "crap!" A very funny book where animals dressed in their poolside finest, from Hawaiian shirts to leopard print bathing suits, are at the heart of the humour. 

For ages 4 and up.

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Moi, je suis un cheval !

This camel is quite ingenious. Tired of doing the same circus performance over and over again, he quits and applies for a different job: to be a guard's horse at the municipal park. Since the park owner is short-sighted, he notices nothing unusual about this "horse," and hires the camel. 

The guard, however, wasn't born yesterday, and starts getting suspicious. But the guard also has a little secret of his own: he is a woman. The two become accomplices and enforce their own park rules, including a ban on bans. This refreshing and bold story, with its cut-paper illustrations, helps children to look beyond appearances and respect differences. 

For ages 4 and up. 

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La culotte du loup

When Wolf tries to get dressed in the morning, he finds a hole in his shorts. Uh oh. He heads to the store but the shorts there are too expensive, and he only has one coin in his pocket. No bother, though. To get the shorts he wants, he only needs to do a bit of work.

This Three Little Pigs spin-off is full of wit (for grown-ups and little ones alike), and the illustrations are rich with delightful details. 

For ages 3 to 5.

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Les Deux Grenouilles à grande bouche

In this follow-up to the bestselling book La Grenouille à grande bouche, a second frog joins in the fun. Together they adapt the story of Noah's Ark, punctuated with beloved nursery rhymes. 

The two friends sing so much, and so off key, that they make the rain fall. It rains, it pours... it's a deluge! They must build a boat to survive the flood. Once the boat is afloat, animals start taking refuge in it, all while enjoying (or not!) our singing frogs' performances. To make them stop, the captain recommends making a sacrifice to stop the rain: a sacrifice of a large-mouthed green animal. The frogs feel bad for the crocodiles. 

But just in time, it's "land ahoy!" and a lucky escape.

For ages 4 and up. 

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Poèmes de terre

Worms make for some pretty unusual protagonists. And having a worm as a muse for over 40 poems? Well that's just wacky! Inspired by verse-writing exercises of the Oulipo, a French experimental literary workshop, author Olivier Douzou uses palindromes and spoonerisms to help his worms express themselves. The illustrations of the worms, made of clay, add to the humour and absurdity of the story. 

For ages 5 and up. 

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This article was adapted from Perrine Parageau's original in French, which you can read here.

Isabelle translates and edits articles into English from other languages on the Bookwitty site. She always adds a hyperlink to the original article in her post.

Found this article relevant?

Jorge Sette found this witty
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