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Citywide Read 2021-2022 – 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 online 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. There will also be a fun midterm break event for children on 26th October in Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, and an online class event in the National Library of Ireland. 

Multiple copies of the book are 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 is available for children and teachers to download.

Animal Crackers Activity Pack

Animal Crackers Snail Track


Join Alan and Sarah for an Animal Crackers Mini-Beast Safari, filmed especially for the Citywide Read and Dublin City Libraries.

Find out all about worms and woodlice and watch Alan and Sarah race their pet snails. Plus draw an exotic animal with Alan.

Loads of fun for age 7+, schools and families.


 “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.

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



Tuesday 26th October 3-4pm. 

Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Parnell Square North, Dublin 1

Free (in-person) family event.


The Animal Crackers Family Challenge with Alan Nolan and Sarah Webb

Age 7+ and their families

Do you like animals, art, quizzes and having fun? If so, this event is for you!

We are delighted to partner with the Hugh Lane Gallery who will host the Animal Crackers Family Challenge!

Hear all about some of Alan and Sarah’s favourite animals and draw an exotic animal with Alan. Plus play some of their favourite animal-themed games, like Alive, Extinct or Just Plain Stinky, and Animal Record Breakers.


Wednesday 27th October 10.30am-11.30am


Free online family event (aged 6-12 years)


Sarah Webb and Alan Nolan’s legendary live online animal quiz, including the favourite round: Alive, Extinct or Just Plain Stinky!

Lots of fun and informative visual rounds, plus a draw along with Alan.

Online zoom event for families – suitable for children aged 6-12 years old but all ages are welcome! (Children must be accompanied by a guardian).

Part of the Dublin City Libraries’ Citywide Reading for Children Campaign.


Alan Nolan and Sarah Webb. Photo by Fennell Photography.


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!