Little Library Bookshelf – Real-Life Animal Movies

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If your children love animals and you love documentaries then we have just the movie to make your movie night perfect for everyone! Guest librarian Heather Hageli from VAPLD has pulled together a list of Real-Life Animal movies. Part kid feature, part true-life documentary these will keep the whole family entertained.

best real-life animal movies


Best Real-Life Animal Movies

The last few years of real-life animal movie releases have given us Dolphin Tale, The Jungle Book and Max (all great, so if you haven’t seen them, DO!). But live action animal movies have been popular family films for decades. Here are a few of my favorite “oldies, but goodies.” Hope your family enjoys them as well.


Doctor Dolittle (1967) (1967, approved)

Dr. Dolittle can talk to animals! And he does in this vintage musical flick. There are made up animals (like a Push-Me Pull-You) as well as beautiful real ones.






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The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986, G)

While a favorite of mine as a child, there are some intense scenes. Viewing together with slightly older children (5+) is recommended. This movie does include the “facts of life” showing cat and dog births. And while some of the adventure may leave you feeling hopeless for Milo and Otis – it does have a happy ending!






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Andre (1994, PG)

Based on a true story, this movie is about a family and little girl who befriend a mischievous harbor seal. This movie is not only hilarious but also heartwarming and fun!






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Iron Will (1994, PG)

After an accident resulting in the loss of his father, Will is left to be the head of his family. He wants to go to college and provide for his family so he enters a dog sled race in Alaska where the prize for winning would provide plenty. This movie is about adventure, endurance and never giving up. Recommended for older children (7+).





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Dunston Checks In (1996, PG)

Rutledge, a notorious jewel thief and his highly trained orangutan Dunston check into a luxury hotel in a big city. Dunston makes a break for freedom from the life of crime and befriends a boy staying at the hotel. Full of animal and kid antics!






Here at the Vernon Area Public Library, we use the five early literacy practices — TALK, SING, READ, WRITE, PLAY — as the foundation for all of our storytimes.  It’s never too early to start on these five activities to set the stage for reading readiness.

We offer storytimes beginning at birth, and all are welcome to stop by and visit — no library card required. But if you are a resident, you can sign up for your library card while you are here! Find our calendar of storytimes and other events at

If you would like more information about early literacy, what is happening at the library, and a printable calendar, click here to subscribe to our quarterly Early Literacy eNewsletter.

Looking for more book recommendations for you or your little ones? Visit the Vernon Area Public Library’s Goodreads or Pinterest accounts for librarian-selected reading for all ages.

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About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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