Probably something most everyone has read, but something I get excited about each time we pull it out is James Herriot's Treasury for Children. These sweet tales of farm animals and village pets in the Scottish highlands are sure to bring a tear to my eye--and a questioning look from my children. "Is she going to cry??? Again??
James Herriot was a farm vet and author. His well known adult books, the All Creatures Great and Small books were favorites of mine since late in highschool. How wonderful it was for me to find his Treasury for Children when I was at the beginning of our homeschool journey.
My favorite stories are Bonnie's Big Day , a story of an old farmer and his love for the two horses who helped him create his farm and The Christmas Day Kitten, a bittersweet view of how one woman's kindness to a stray cat brought her loss and then happiness--but all eight stories are wonderful and mesmerizing.
The illustrations by Ruth Brown and Peter Barrett are rich and textured. They fit perfectly into the tales.
The nice thing about Herriot's tales is that he writes for both children and adults so as the children get older finding his novels will be like finding a letter from an old friend.
The only problem I see is that if you have a child who is truly an "animal addict" after reading these stories you may be pelted with requests for lambs, kittens, horses and dogs, not to mention an odd pig or an old cow.