Kids love stories of heroic animals...and so do grownups!
They'll find several in Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories by Sandra Markle (Lerner, 2009.) One of my favorites is the story of Binti Jua, the gorilla mother who came to a boy's rescue when he fell over the railing at the Brookfield Zoo. Not only did she cradle and protect him from the other gorillas, she also had the good sense to leave him outside when the group, sprayed by zookeepers hoping to isolate Binti and the boy, traveled inside. Amazingly, the little boy survived.
Children will enjoy stories about family pet heroes. They'll also be surprised to read about a heroic cow, whose determination helps a woman escape a flooded river, and dolphins who protect swimmers from a stalking shark.
Next we have The Incredible Life of Balto by Meghan McCarthy (Knopf, 2011.)
This book is actually about two heroes. First, it's about Balto, the Alaskan sled dog who traveled through 50 below zero temperatures to deliver medicine to snowed-in Nome, where people were suffering from diptheria. At first, Balto is celebrated. But eventually, he becomes a poorly cared for sideshow. Enter the next hero: George Kimble, who spearheads a fundraising campaign to buy Balto. Money raised, Balto is restored to the hero life he deserves.
McCarthy's friendly illustrations are a perfect fit for Balto's life story. Children will be charmed by this book, which proves that sometimes heroes need saving, too.