from Fairy Tales, Folklore, Fables, Nursery Rhymes,
Myths, Legends, Bible and Classics

The Story Lovers World home page is at:

To add to the lists below, please e-mail


Scroll down or click on your choice below

Books about Animal Transformation - Shapeshifting
Online links about Animal Transformation - Shapeshifters
SOS - Searching Out Stories - Animal Transformation
~~Advice/References - Storytellers, Teachers, Librarians





To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Book titles are in dark blue and underlined. Click on them to learn more about the books and how to buy them.
Alphabetized with short descriptions for your convenience and to save you research time.

Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse: (Reissue; Caldecott Honor Book) by Leo Lionni. (2006 - Ages 4-8)
Everyone loves Willy the wind-up mouse, while Alexander the real mouse is chased away with brooms and mousetraps. Wouldn't it be wonderful to be loved and cuddled, thinks Alexander, and he wishes he could be a wind-up mouse too. In this gentle fable about a real mouse and a mechanical mouse, Leo Lionni explores the magic of friendship.

Black Stallion and the Shape-shifter (The) by Steve Farley. (2000 - YA)
After being injured while racing in Ireland’s famous Foster Stakes, the Black and Alec head to the Irish coast to recuperate. While there, they are charmed by the pleasant people and intrigued by tales of the kelpie, a shape-shifting creature of myth who carries unsuspecting riders off to a watery grave. Alec meets a lonely local girl, Mora, and teaches her to ride. But Mora disappears and Alec realizes that she has been carried off by the mythical kelpie...

Blue Faience Hippopotamus (The) by Joan Grant. (1991)
This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read, a story for both children and adults. The writing is top notch, featuring what is almost a "hero's quest" for children, ending with an exquisite example of unselfishness and the true gift of love and life. While similar in many ways to The Velveteen Rabbit, it is neither an imitator nor an homage; I cry each time I read the story.

Creepy Creatures (Goosebumps Graphix) by R.L. Stine. (2006 - Ages 9-12)
Creepy creatures are howling, growling, and stalking through the artwork of the first Goosebumps Graphix anthology when three hot, talented comic artists adapt these bestselling Goosebumps books into a cool, new graphic novel format: Scott Morse, creator of the popular comic, "The Magic Pickle," brings his quirky sense of humor and madcap illustrations to "The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena," where two kids encounter an unlikely monster.

Cry Wolf (Alpha and Omega, Book 1) by Patricia Briggs. (2008)
Anna never knew werewolves existed until the night she survived a violent attack…and became one herself. After three years at the bottom of the pack, she’d learned to keep her head down and never, ever trust dominant males. But Anna is that rarest kind of werewolf: an Omega. And one of the most powerful werewolves in the country will recognize her value as a pack member—and as his mate.

Deerdancer: The Shapeshifter Archetype in Story & in Trance (Arkana) by Michele Jamal. (1995)
For centuries, men and women have engaged in shapeshifting rituals - the powerful process of taking on the physical or psychological aspect of an animal to access its strength and perceptions. The imagery of shifting between human and nonhuman form has strongly pervaded folklore, myth, legend, and superstition. In chapters on the buffalo, cat, bird, bear, dragon, frog and more, this book explores the qualities associated with various shapeshifter forms. It illustrates how to use shapeshifting ritual to find direction, power and insight.

Going to Ground: Shapeshifter Bk. 3 by Ali Sparkes. (2007)
When Dax receives an urgent call, he knows he has to drop everything and race to the aid of his friends. Strange things are happening-unbelievable occurrences that seem to be following Dax and his friends wherever they go. And that's not all that's after them ...Government agents are stalking their every move-tracking them down. Who can they trust?

Magic Pretzel (The): Ready For Chapters 1 by Daniel Pinkwater and Jill Pinkwater. (2000 - Ages 9-12)
There is only one way to keep from turning into a werewolf, and that is with the help of a magic pretzel. This seems simple enough--unless the only magic pretzel on earth happens to be kept by your half brother Lance Von Sweeny in a special, burglar-proof case in the Museum of the Pretzel on Nemo Boulevard. This is the predicament of Mr. Talbot, beloved (yet weird and scary) teacher, half-man, half-wolf...

Passion and Poison: Tales of Shape-Shifters, Ghosts, and Spirited Women by Janice M. Del Negro with Vince Natale (illus). (2007 - Ages 9-12)
Including both original tales and retellings, this collection of seven stories (there's one two-parter) features diverse female protagonists determinedly facing challenges and perils—from human bullies to ghosts. More eerie than scary, the tales of bravery, revenge, grief, and redemption share a gothic sensibility that emphasizes that things are not what they seem.

Scooby-Doo & The Werewolf (Scooby-doo 8x8 #6) by Jesse Leon McCann with Duendes Del Sur (illus). (2004 - Ages 4-8)
When Shaggy finds out a foreign exchange student is going to come live with him for a month, he and Scooby are delighted! They can't wait to learn all about the food in Romania, the country Andre comes from. But when Andre arrives, the two buddies get a little suspicious. Andre is very hairy, he won't touch anything silver, and he always lets out a long howl on the night of the full moon. Could Shaggy's new roommate be... a werewolf?

Shape-shifter (Mindwarp) by C.J. Anders. (1998 - Ages 9-12)
My name is Todd Aldridge. At least, I think it is....
Where did I go? I don't remember much about the night I disappeared. One minute I saw a strange light in the sky. The next minute I woke up in the hospital. The thing is, it wasn't the next minute. It was nine months later....What happened to me? Some people think I was kidnapped. Others say I was abducted by aliens. I don't know what to believe. But I know this: I'm not the same as before.

Sign of the Shapeshifter (Dungeons and Dragons: Knights of the Silver Dragon) by Dale Donovan and Linda Johns. (2004 - Ages 9-12)
Continues a new series of adventures written specifically for readers ages 8 and up. Sized to fit the young reader market, the series follows the adventures of three children who, through their heroic deeds, become members of the Order of the Knights of the Silver Dragon. This opportunity will be extended to readers of the series as well through the Knights of the Silver Dragon Club. Young readers are encouraged to join and participate in the club.

Super Soccer Freak Show (Wiley and Grampa's Creature Features, No. 4) by Kirk Scroggs. (2007 - Ages 9-12)
Put on your shin guards: in their fourth adventure, Wiley & Grampa enter the Wild World of Sports! At Wiley's soccer game against the monstrous Carpathian Coyotes Grampa suffers a nasty bite from their mangy team mascot, turning into a "wereyote" - a half man, half coyote - ten times as mean and three times as hairy! You'll howl when he grows sharp fangs. You'll freak out when he wreaks havoc through the streets of Gingham County.

Vampires, Zombies, and Shape-Shifters (Secrets of the Supernatural) by Rebecca Stefoff. (2007 - Ages 9-12)
Vampires : preying on the living -- Zombies : the walking dead -- Werewolves and shape-shifters : the beast within.
Explores the folklore and facts connected with these creatures.

Weird Wolf (Redfeather Book) by Margery Cuyler with Dirk Zimmer (illus). (1991 - Ages 4-8)
Harry Walpole knows something weird is going on: His palms sprout hair, his teeth grow into fangs, and he heads for McDonald's every time there's a full moon. Could he be...a werewolf? Looks like it runs in the family, and Harry's the next victim. The curse isn't easy to shake but Harry Walpole, werewolf, has to find a way to turn back into Harry Walpole, third-grader, before his secret embarrasses him in front of everybody.

Werewolf of Fever Swamp (The) (Goosebumps Series) by R.L. Stine. (2003 - Ages 9-12)
When a strange howling is heard and a rabbit is torn to shreds, everyone thinks that Grady's new dog is responsible, and Grady is determined to prove them wrong.

Werewolf of PS 40 (The) (Kid Caramel, Private Investigator, Book 2) by Dwayne J. Ferguson. (1998 - ges 9-12)
Reader: Great book for casual reading. Short mild mystery reader, a nice follow up the the first book previously read. Loved it and would recommend to any child.

Werewolves Don't Go To Summer Camp (The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids, #2) by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thorton Jones. (1991 - Ages 9-12)
The Bailey Elementary third-graders are greeted at camp by the gorwling, barefoot Mr. Jenkins. He eats nearly raw hamburgers, avoids lights and campfires, and warns the campers about the legend of a little boy's disappearance and the howl of a lone wolf. Could Mr. Jenkins be a werewolf?

Back to top


Online links and book titles are in dark blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
Short descriptions are included for your convenience and to save you research time.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
Shape Shifers - Shimmers. Shape shifting is the transformation (mentally or physically) of one's self into an animal. A 'theriomorph' is a shapeshifter; a being who can assume an animal as well as a human form.
"East of the Sun West of the Moon"
Any selkie story. A great compilation.
There is a section on transformation tales here.

"The Seven Swans
" by Hans Christian Andersen
Karen C. 5/18/05
Shapeshifting defined. Thorough, covering all forms of shapeshifting, historical accounts, religious texts, Greco-Roman, British and Irish, Norse, Slavic, Armenian, Hinduism, Far East. Shapeshifting in popular culture.
"Shape Shifters" chapter from Favorite Folktales from Around the World (Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library) by Jane Yolen through Google Books. Includes "The Swan-Maiden," "The Wounded Seal," "Sister Alionushka, Brother Ivanushka" (Russia), "The Seal's Skin" (Iceland),"The Serpent-Woman" (Spain), "The Snake's Lover" (Peru). Be forewarned: Google Books does not always include full text stories in copyrighted books.
Shapeshifters and Shapeshifting. "There are two types of shapeshifting; changing your light body in the astral to power animal, & changing your physical form on the earth plane into an animal..."
Dark Pretenses. "Shapeshifters can change from human form to animal form at any time. They are not tied to moon as myth says, and can change form at any time. A shapeshifter is an animal in a human body, and this means that in private they act like their animal form. They have quick reflexes, super-human strength and incredible smell, sight and hearing. It is very difficult to suprise a shapeshifter, and they can identify a species by their scent."
The Cryptid Zoo: Shapeshifters in Cryptozoology. "A shapeshifter is a living being that changes its appearance drastically on a regular basis. Most shapeshifters, like werewolves, are limited to the realm of mythology. Others populate our science fiction. But a few people wonder if such things could really exist." Extensive sources list.
Shapeshifters: When It's Time to Shift the Story's Shape by Paula Fleming. "Stories about people who assume animal form, and animals who assume human form, have probably been around since protohumans gathered around fires. From the bloodthirsty werewolf of Europe to the guiding spirits of American Indians, from gods to devils to misunderstood human outcasts, thousands of such stories have been published." Includes explanations of many different types of shapeshifting.
Shapeshifting. "Shapeshifting is the ability to change the shape of a specific energy field which may pertain to a physical object or something that is intangible. This term is most often used in reference to your ability to change the shape of your body. It is broader sense, it also includes changing your environment."
Shapeshifting by Wyldkat. "First of all, no matter what you do you are not going to physically turn into an animal, so just drop that idea right now. Shapeshifting is a reality though. It is done through visualization so that you may carry the power and abilities of an animal with you when you need it. Drawing the courage of a lion in the face of adversity is an example where you can draw on the power of an animal spirit in such a way. Shapeshifting is also a way of getting to know an animal better (the old walk a mile in their shoes bit or perhaps in this case it should be paws....) Finally shapeshifting allows you to take on animal form while on shamanic journeys or while you visit the astral plane."
Extraterrestrial: Shape-Shifting. Icke's Shape-Shifting Reptilians. Excerpt from David Icke's Book The Biggest Secret: The Book That Will Change the World (Updated Second Edition). "In a remarkable period of 15 days as I travelled, around the United States in 1998, I met more than a dozen separate people who told me of how they had seen humans transform into reptiles and go back again in front of their eyes. Two television presenters had just such an experience while interviewing a man who was in favour of the global centralization of power known as the New World Order."
Werewolf. Definition as well as eymology, folk beliefs, origins of werewolf beliefs, vampiric connections, in fiction, plus more.
"This site contains an extensive collection of resources pertaining to legend of the werewolf. Do werewolves really exist?"
From Google Books. "The Werewolf in Lore and Legend" by Montague Summers.
Book available here: The Werewolf in Lore and Legend.
Animal transformation fantasy defined.
"This webring focuses on websites involving transformation of humans into animals, including both stories and pictures."
Therianthropy refers to the metamorphosis of humans into other animals. Examines Shamanism, hybrids, shape-shifting, psychiatry, popular culture, and more.
Native American Animal Symbols.
Transformation Stories List. "This list includes books, short stories, movies, web sites, and other works that feature physical shapeshifting. All methods of transformation are covered; werewolves and other animal shapeshifters, nanotechnology, magic spells, etc. Most of the List's material is science fiction, fantasy, or horror; but other genres are welcome as well.
The Selkie-folk from the Orkney Islands.
A Home for Selkies. Extensive list of Mythological Texts, stories and poems based on the mythology, curiour tales and related links.
Selkie and Selkies defined. Covers legends, theories of origins, Selkies in fiction, music and pop culture, bibliography, and more.

Back to top


(excerpts from Storytell listserv plus original research)

Book titles and online links are in dark blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
Storytell posts are added chronologically as they are received by Story Lovers World.
Names and dates of contributores prior to 2005 are not included.

1) Query:
Can anyone share some stories with a theme related to any of the following: 1) people transforming into animals and vice versa, 2) animal powers bestowed upon people, and 3) animals using their powers to help people.
John C. 5/18/05


a) Easy-To-Tell Stories for Young Children by Annette Harrison.
The first story that came into my head is "The Boy Who Became a Caribou." It could easily be adapted to an older audience.
Karen C. 5/18/05

One of my favourite transformation stories is an Orcadian selkie story of revenge and forgiveness, "The Wounded Selkie." You can read it at the above link.
Richard M. Germany 5/18/05

c) (Barry McWilliams)
I love some of the Haida stories in which animals turn into people, and vice versa. I haven't told any of these stories in a long time, but I used to tell Mouse Woman stories back in the 1970's--before I was more conscious about stepping on toes by telling native stories. Christie Harris has written two or three books of these stories. A search on the web netted a site by Barry McWilliams with an article about ownership of certain stories by certain tribes. He also has some Raven stories on his site. However, some of the stories are more universal, and not considered private property of a particular tribe. I don't know about the "Mouse Woman" stories. There might be copyright issues with Christie Harris for her stories.
Judith W. 5/18/05

d) Snow White & Rose Red from the Brothers Grimm.
Also, "Seven Ravens" (similar to Andersen's "Swans," but shorter and less pathetic/Chridtian/Andersenian — can be learned fairly quickly. Also, "The White Snake" includes animal helpers.
Tim J. 5/18/05

The Ashliman folk and mythology text site has a section on monkey bridegrooms - full texts of stories - there's also an animal - also a section on amimal brides and bridegrooms. Lots of stuff!

Both e) and f) were contributed by Judy S. 5/18/05

2) Query: As part of my YA lit class we are to find a speaker on our chosen topic who would like to talk with YA from ages 12-19. Since this is my topic (good books prevail on shape-shifting!), I would like to know if there might be anyone on your listserv from the Midwest, in particular, as our professor wanted a local resource. Our instructor plans on passing the various class bibliographies throughout her network. I certainly am going to follow up on the information that you generously sent me in your previous email. And I appreciate your understanding the question and responding to it.
Marguerite M. 6/1/09


"Jack and Old Fire Dragaman"

"Beauty and the Beast"

"Whitebear Whittington"

"The Wounded Selkie" as retold by Richard Martin.

Selkies in many stories—are they considered shapeshifters? Those are a few that come to mind.
Granny Sue 6/2/09

I'd consider a selkie a shapeshifter, but think twice about Beauty and the Beast.....I think there's a difference between someone who can shift shape between animal and human at will; and someone who changes form because they are under a curse or an enchantment. A true shapeshifter can walk the world in whichever form he or she chooses, whenever he/she wants to. I'm not sure where that leaves werewolves; their change seems to be involuntary; at least in some tradtions.....
Opinions, anyone?
Kimberley K. 6/2/09
Reply: You're right, Kimberly. I was brainstorming when I typed that, but your distinction is a good one.

c) Here's a wonderful book on shape-shifters:
Deerdancer: The Shapeshifter Archetype in Story & in Trance (Arkana) by Michele Jamal Foreword by Johnny Moses.
Thomas D. 6/2/09

d) This wikipedia article has a "quick and dirty" overview of the topic:
Judy S. 6/2/09

e) Shape-shifter stories that come to mind include Puss in Boots (Sunburst Book), "The Hucka-Pucka Pot," The Porcelain Man, and some myths in which a god takes human or animal form.
A good YA novel on this theme is Owl in Love by Patrice Kindl, 1993.
Tom F. 6/2/09

f) The two I thought of are the Fire Beings in "Coyote Brings Fire" ( ) and "Hairy Man" ( ). There's also the evil genie in Brinton Turkle's Do Not Open (Storytime).
Marilyn K. 6/2/09

g) I love the wikipedia article and stories! I just eat this stuff up! This is the kind of exploration and discussion that I would love to have live with some real live tellers and real stories on a story-themes topic. Not so much a "how-to" as a guided discussion. I'm wondering if someone would like to offer a "workshop" on this or some similar aspect of traditional stories at the NSN Conference. I hope so! Workshop Proposal deadline is June 15.
Mary Grace K. 6/3/09

h) I have really been enjoy this thread. As a myopic youth I spent many hours reading science fiction, fantasy and stories about wizards, elves, Amazon women of Mars and such.

For me the term shapeshifter was old knowledge. Interestingly enough, there is a difference, a huge difference in shapeshifting and lycanthropy (curse of the werewolf where there is no choice). It is usually a great tool for science fiction and fantasy as a character turns into a dragon, an animal that may also be their totem or clan animal... or they even may have the ability to shift into another person's shape. A shapeshifter has the ability AND the choice

The problem I always had with shapeshifting in movies and TV was the clothes the shapeshifter wore. Taking on another person's appearance should not, would not include the clothing. Huge error as far as I was concerned.

That all being said, it is actually a great story line - problems and adventures for a boy or girl character who can shift shapes. I need to think on that one. There may be a whole series of stories there.
Stephen H. 6/3/09

i) Got me to thinking...what about other stories where the character wants to be changed as in The Velveteen Rabbit or the wind- up mouse in Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse: (Reissue; Caldecott Honor Book). I was even thinking of my favorite The Blue Faience Hippopotamus where the hippo is changed into an object then into a human. These three were all things they wanted and strived for as a way to improve their lives. It was not a curse, or spell, or inbred. Hmmm?
Marilyn K. 6/3/09

j) See Ireland's finest storyteller in action in 1989. Eamon Kelly's version of "Man with No Story" has a bit about how to change a sally (willow) branch into an animal in Irish with translation.
Richard M. Dublin 6/3/09

Created 2005; last update 6/3/09

Back to Lists of Stories
Back to Top- Animal Transformation Stories
Story Lovers World ... 707-996-1996