KidsPost Summer Book Club 2013: Animal Adventures. (Alla Dreyvitser/The Washington Post)

We at KidsPost have been squirreling away (or gathering) books. We’ve worked like dogs to find interesting titles. And we’ve waited till now to let the cat out of the bag.

Animals have inspired funny expressions, and they also have inspired terrific stories. So this year’s KidsPost Summer Book Club highlights Animal Adventures (To sign up their kids, parents can click here). Our eight books feature a variety of animals, all of whom take suspense-filled journeys.

Each Wednesday beginning June 26, we’ll set off on a new animal adventure. We’ll also suggest other animal stories you might enjoy. Most of the books are available in major public library systems. All titles also will be available at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington and at Hooray for Books in Alexandria.

We hope these books become part of your journey to find stories you love, books that will keep you reading well beyond summer’s end.

June 26

Survivors: The Empty City

By Erin Hunter. Ages 8 to 12.

After an earthquake (the Big Growl) destroys a city, the dogs left behind must figure out how they can survive. Lucky, a dog who usually lives on his own, meets up with an oddball pack that wants him to join the group. But Lucky’s not so sure.

July 3

Never Say Die

By Will Hobbs. Ages 8 to 12.

Nick Thrasher, an Inuit teenager, and his photographer half-brother are on a rafting trip in the Canadian Arctic to look for caribou. Soon, the trip isn’t going as planned, and dangerous wild animals — including a ferocious “grolar bear” (a polar bear-grizzly mix) — threaten to keep them from getting back home.

July 10

Pegasus: The Flame of Olympus

By Kate O’Hearn. Ages 8 to 12.

A huge thunderstorm knocks out the lights in New York City, and Emily hears a crash on the roof of her apartment building. What she finds there is a creature she has seen only in books: Pegasus, the winged horse. Pegasus is wounded and needs her help. As Emily and friend Joel try to save the horse, they are drawn into a world of gods and goddesses, thieves and monsters.

July 17

An Army of Frogs

By Trevor Pryce. Ages 8 to 12.

A young frog named Darel dreams of becoming a Kulipari warrior, like his father. But after Darel’s father died in battle, the frogs found a way to hide from enemies. So there’s no need for warriors . . . until the spider queen reappears. Can Darel and his friends save their home, the Amphibilands?

July 24

The Familiars

By Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson. Ages 8 to 12.

Aldwyn, an alley cat, is hiding in a strange pet shop when a wizard boy named Jack chooses him to be a familiar, or a magical companion. The cat has no special powers, but when Jack and his friends are kidnapped, Aldwyn joins with two other familiars to attempt a rescue.

July 31

The Tale of Despereaux

By Kate DiCamillo. Ages 8 to 12.

Despereaux Tilling lives in a castle with his mouse family. But he doesn’t fit in. He is sent to the dungeon for talking to a human. In the dungeon, he meets a rat named Roscuro and a servant girl named Miggery Sow. All three are outsiders, and all three are looking to bring light to their troubled lives.

August 7

The Cats of Tanglewood Forest

By Charles de Lint. Ages 8 to 12.

Tanglewood Forest is home to strange creatures, including wild cats. Lillian, a girl who lives at the forest’s edge, is playing in the woods when she stops to rest. A snake bites her, and the cats come to her aid. When she awakens, Lillian has fur, paws and a tail. She wants her old self back, so she searches for magical help.

August 14

The Daring Escape of the Misfit Menagerie

By Jacqueline Resnick. Ages 8 to 12.

Life is sweet on Mumford’s Farm for a sun bear named Smalls, Tilda the rabbit, Rigby the dog and Wombat the wombat. Mr. Mumford’s neighbors come to watch this Misfit Menagerie perform tricks. When the evil Claude Magnificence takes the animals and forces them to perform dangerous circus acts, Claude’s nephew might be their one hope of escape. (This book will be available in July and August to read free online at A grown-up must set up a free account to access the book.)