Nature has played an important role during the development of books for children. This started with an idea of educating the children about their world. In those days the books may or may not contain the story telling method, giving knowledge through books was the main idea. As the times changed, people would take their children to zoos and they came closer to animals. This really inspired many authors to write on the relation between animals and humans especially children. Try asking a little child about nature, and his first reply may be of a lion or some other animal or forest, that is how close are kids to animals.
There is a strong connection between animals and children’s literature. Kids find animals really interesting, there we see a lot of authors and publishing houses which put animals as important characters in picture books, children’s story books, in children’s novels, in non-fiction, in poetry, in fairy tales and in nursery rhymes and text books. You can find many books for babies which are rich in animals and are used to teach children animal names, alphabets and numbers. Try walking into a library and check the children’s literature section and you will find that almost half of the stories will be animal based.
Some of the most common animals found in children’s books are dogs, cats, pigs, lions, chickens, ducks, sheep, butterfly, caterpillar, rabbits, rats, horses, foxes, bears and more. The animals usually have a particular trait in them which the author make use of. For example, a fox is usually shown as clever, a lion is shown strong, if not shown strong the story ends making it realize its character, a sheep is generally shown the innocent one and so on. The kids are quickly able to relate to these characteristics of that animal and its easy for them to understand these stories for them rather than creating human characters with these characteristics. It is also less frightening for the kids to know that a fox was quite clever and evil rather than have a human portray such traits. Dressing the animals in clothes also help the children relate to them better. The children’s book illustrations with animals can look visually quite humorous and appealing. It’s easy for children to learn and absorb lessons from animals than from their parents or teachers.
It is much more interesting to understand the morals from such stories. Animals in children stories make the children more loving towards animals.