This chapter proposes an approach to late eighteenth-century writing for children which does not so obviously privilege the self-representations of the Romantic poets. It explores some of the great wealth of animal material which exists in children's literature in this period as a means of focusing on currents of development which predated and helped to form the imagination/instruction debate, and also ranged beyond it. The chapter addresses the ways in which prevailing attitudes towards animals might be engaged with in the work of a writer who had been exposed to some of this material. The contrasts between John Locke and Rousseauian views became a notable source of tension in education at the end of the century, in the context of new political, religious and revolutionary ideas which broke down consensus and polarized loyalties. Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poetry and prose writing includes several intense imaginative engagements with animals and some of his most interesting metaphorical self-identifications are with non-human species, especially birds.