Animal Books for Adults

An animal is a main character in these novels. Sometimes they are real animals, sometimes they speak or are otherwise anthropomorphized. Most can be enjoyed by adults or teens.

Some of the featured animals include horses, dogs, cats, and wolves.

Animals in Novels

Black Beauty | Anna Sewell

Black Beauty’s early life as a colt is pleasant, and he learns how to behave. As he grows up, he learns some of the tragedies of life, and has to leave his comfortable home. He deals with the varying treatment he receives from his owners.

Read “Black Beauty”

The Call of the Wild | Jack London

Buck is a dog living a life of ease at the California ranch of Judge Miller. A ranch hand, Manuel, needs money because of his gambling problem. He sells Buck to a dog breaker, who, in turn, sells him again to Perrault and Francois. Buck has to adapt to the hierarchy of living with other dogs, as well as dealing with human masters.

Read “The Call of the Wild”

White Fang | Jack London

Henry and Bill are traveling in the North, transporting a deceased man in a coffin. They are being stalked by a pack of hungry wolves, and they fear for their dogs and themselves. Among the pack is a semi-tame she-wolf who is able to lure the dogs away from safety. She eventually gives birth to White Fang, a cub that gets taken in by Indians.

Read “White Fang”

The Wind in the Willows | Kenneth Grahame

Mole is spring-cleaning when he gets the urge to see the world above him. He meets Water Rat, who explains the River Bank community. They next visit Mr. Toad, who becomes fixated on automobiles. Then Mole goes to the Wild Wood to see Mr. Badger, but he gets lost. Mole’s adventures continue as he interacts with the residents of the River Bank.

Read “The Wind in the Willows”

National Velvet | Enid Bagnold

Velvet Brown, fourteen, loves horses. She wins a horse, The Piebald, and is set on entering the Grand National steeplechase. Her father’s assistant uses some connections in the horse racing world to get her started.

My Friend Flicka | Mary O’Hara

Ken, ten-years-old, is unfocused and not doing well at school. His brother had been given a colt to train, but Ken hasn’t been trusted with that yet. Eventually, he gets to choose a colt; he picks a wild one with mustang blood.

Bambi | Felix Salten

Bambi, a deer, spends his first year learning from his mother about the forest. He meets some relatives and they learn from each other. He eventually encounters humans. One day, a hunting party comes thru the area.

Beautiful Joe | Margaret Marshall Saunders

Beautiful Joe is a medium sized brown dog, part bull terrier and part fox terrier. Joe now lives in comfort with an owner he loves, but it wasn’t always that way. He narrates his life story beginning with his mother and his life as a puppy. Joe has endured a lot of suffering in his life.

Incredible Journey | Sheila Burnford

John Longridge, living in Ontario, Canada, is looking after a friend’s pets – two dogs and a cat. The animals leave one day, heading west in search of their owner. They face danger from other animals, the geography, and people.

The Black Stallion | Walter Farley

Alec Ramsay, a teenager, is returning home by ship. Also on board is a wild black stallion. When the ship goes down, they are both stranded on a desert island. They work together and form a close bond while trying to survive.