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Citywide Read for Children: Animal Crackers by Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan

Which are the biggest and smallest animals? Which are the most dangerous? Why do dogs love people so much? What animals can live in the heat of the desert, or deep below the oceans? Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan are animal crazy and have put the answers to all these questions and more in Animal Crackers, a book bursting with information and illustrations about animals of all types.

We are delighted to announce Animal Crackers by Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan (The O’Brien Press) as the 2021 Citywide Reading for Children choice.

This book of animal facts, illustrated with animal art/doodles, activities and quiz pages, is a highly interactive and fun book suitable for boys and girls aged 6-12 years.


The campaign is run by Dublin UNESCO City of Literature and Dublin City Libraries, in partnership with The O’Brien Press, and runs during October and November 2021. The aim of the initiative is to encourage children to read for pleasure.

There will be author and illustrator events for primary school classes organised by Dublin City Libraries.

An online family quiz and draw-along will take place on Wednesday 27th October at 10.30am. Book Now

There will also be a fun midterm break event for children in Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, and an online class event in the National Library of Ireland. All events are free.

 “We are delighted and honoured that Animal Crackers has been chosen as the 2021 Citywide Read. We love libraries! As children we borrowed and read all kinds of books, especially animal books, and we’ve never stopped visiting the library. In fact lots of the research for Animal Crackers was done in our local libraries. We hope that children all over Dublin will enjoy reading our book and discovering lots of new animal facts. We can’t wait to go Animal Crackers with young book fans and their parents and teachers!” Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan.

Multiple copies of the book will be available in all Dublin City Libraries as well as in all good bookshops.  Children can borrow the book in any library across the country. An activity booklet and other online resources to accompany the book will be available for children and teachers on

The project is funded by Dublin City Council’s Public Library Service and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.

Sarah Webb

Sarah Webb is an award-winning children’s writer. Her books include Blazing a Trail: Irish Women who Changed the World (illustrated by Lauren O’Neill) and A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea: Favourite Rhymes from an Irish Childhood (illustrated by Steve McCarthy), both winners of Irish Book Awards.

Sarah also runs creative writing clubs for children and teens, reviews children’s books for the Irish Independent, and programmes children’s and family events for book festivals and MoLI (Museum of Literature Ireland). A part-time children’s bookseller, Sarah is passionate about bringing children and books together and was awarded the Children’s Books Ireland Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Books in Ireland. Her latest book, The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street will be published in September.

Alan Nolan

Alan Nolan is the author and illustrator of Fintan’s Fifteen, Conor’s Caveman and the Sam Hannigan series for the O’Brien Press. His latest books, Sam Hannigan and the Last Dodo, and Animal Crackers (with Sarah Webb) are both out now. Alan lives in Bray, County Wicklow with his wife, three sons and an evil cat called Chewie.  Alan also featured regularly on during lockdown with fun ‘how to draw’ segments.

The Book:

Crammed full of facts, pictures and cartoons from Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan, Animal Crackers is the perfect book for children who want to know more about our furry, feathered (and scaly!) friends.

With a special section on Irish wildlife, and the ‘Irish Animal Detective’ activities, children will want to explore their gardens, parks and beaches to seek out all kinds of native animals. Animal Crackers also provides fun facts and engaging activities that kids will love – from how to draw your favourite animals to suggestions on how you can help save the planet!


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