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82+ Adorable Kids Books About Animals

Updated Apr. 10, 2019

Calling all animal lovers! There are plenty of children's books about animals, but we've rounded up our very favorites with a wide variety of story, illustrations, and animal characters. From little hands learning where animals live and what they say to independent readers looking for animal adventures, these books will entertain even those who claim not to be animal people.

Top 10 Animals Books

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear book
#1
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Written and illustrated by Don Wood, Audrey Wood
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Grammy

I have long loved this book and read it literally hundreds of times. The likable Little Mouse, loaded with personality, expends great effort and imagination to protect the strawberry from the thieving bear. Use of varying font sizes cues the reader and adds to the drama and suspense as do the delightful illustrations. There is one illustration in particular, where the mouse is desperately tugging on the stem of the strawberry, in which the manner of illustrating--visual vibrations-- communicate perfectly the mouse's actions. With plenty of suspense and humor along the way, this story has a satisfying ending, although it does leave one wondering just who has been speaking to the mouse.

Little Mouse worries that the big, hungry bear will take his freshly picked, ripe, red strawberry for himself.

Gotta Go, Buffalo book
#2
Gotta Go, Buffalo
Written by Kevin Meyers, Haily Meyers and illustrated by Haily Meyers
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from Readerly Mom

A clever concept, adorable illustrations, great design, and flaps to lift: what more could you want?! My toddler daughter loves reading this book, and she loves using the silly phrases whenever she's telling someone goodbye. We read this book over and over again, and if we lost our copy, I'd absolutely be ordering a new one ASAP.

Make goodbyes fun with animal rhymes and colorful lift-the-flap illustrations! “So long!” “See you later!” There are so many ways to say goodbye! Lift the flaps in this colorful book to discover favorite animals (and maybe a few new ones, too) and fun goodbyes. Children and grown-ups alike will be giggling before you can say, “Toodle-Loo, Kangaroo!”

Appleblossom the Possum book
#3
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

What a darling book! I love both the realistic aspects about possums as well as the entertaining scenarios the possums are involved in. Appleblossom ends up falling into a house and breaking one of the main possum rules--staying away from humans! Luckily, she has a great possum family and a kind human girl who help her out. The possums are great examples of being there for your family members and pushing out of your comfort zone in order to help those around you. I also learned quite a few fun things about possums!

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

Eyes book
#4
Eyes
Written by Michael E. Smith
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This was my son's favorite book for about a year and when this book accidentally got left in the rental car (since we NEEDED to take it on vacation!) we replaced it. It's a wonderfully unique take on the classic animal book just looking at an animals eyes. The typography is gorgeous and the illustrations wonderfully modern and stylized. I'm not sure if it would capture the attention of a toddler as much just reading the animal name, but when my son and I read this together we make each animal sound (including chest pounding for the gorilla page) and it makes it a wonderfully interactive reading experience.

Did you know animal eyes come in all shapes, sizes, and colors? Read this picture book to your kids and explore the uniqueness of eyes.

A Boy Called Bat book
#5
A Boy Called Bat
Written by Elana K. Arnold and illustrated by Charles Santoso
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I absolutely adore this book. Bat is a wonderful, developed character that can really help children reading understand and have empathy for those on the Autism spectrum. You get to learn a lot about skunks as Bat takes a particular interest in one, and he has a mother who is a veterinarian!

The first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum, from acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso. For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter. But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet. "This sweet and thoughtful novel chronicles Bat’s experiences and challenges at school with friends and teachers and at home with his sister and divorced parents. Approachable for younger or reluctant readers while still delivering a powerful and thoughtful story" (from the review by Brightly.com, which named A Boy Called Bat a best book of 2017).

Stuart Little book
#6
Stuart Little
Written and illustrated by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A hardcover edition of this treasured story, for which Garth Williams's original black-and-white line drawings for the jacket of Stuart Little have been colorized by the celebrated illustrator Rosemary Wells. Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he's shy and thoughtful, he's also a true lover of adventure. Stuart's greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?

Where the Red Fern Grows book
#7
Where the Red Fern Grows
Written by Wilson Rawls
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

I have very fond memories that come flooding back whenever I read this. I love Old Dan and Little Ann (Billy's two hounds)! Rawls tells an incredible story that tugs at the heart of any reader. There are so many gold nuggets that carry great lessons, like Billy's determination to catch his first coon, Billy's diligence throughout the book in caring for his dogs, and the family unity that Billy and his family share. Where the Red Fern Grows is one of the best books there is.

"Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he's finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own--Old Dan and Little Ann--he's ecstatic. It's true that times are tough, but together they'll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan's brawn, Little Ann's brains, and Billy's sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy waits for these determined hunters--now friends--and Billy will learn that hope can grow out of despair and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past. This beloved classic is sure to delight readers of all ages as it captures the powerful bond between man and man's best friend. To commemorate more than fifty years in print, this special edition includes historical materials to enrich this treasured novel."

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#8
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is one of my very favorite recent books. I love the illustrations, I'm an absolute sucker for a great rhyme scheme and the message is phenomenal: friends matter more than winning.

From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?

This Little Hamster book
#9
This Little Hamster
Written and illustrated by Kass Reich
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Grammy

This Little Hamster is a fun and playful new take on a book about color. The spirited hamsters celebrate their eclectic collections of colorful objects in unexpected combinations in clever, rhyming couplets. The spare, consistent illustrations allow for easy identification of each item, facilitating the assembly of our own colorful objects.

This Little Hamster is a spirited playful board book for babies and toddlers. Rhyming couplets and cheerful illustrations will capture the interest of both child and adult readers. This follow-up to Kass Reich's bestselling debut, Hamsters Holding Hands, is a charming introduction to basic colors that will fascinate little ones.

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#10
The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This story is a delightful read with a swan who believes he can do anything, and he does. I loved following along in his adventures and seeing how he dedicates himself. His friend, Sam, was also one of my favorite parts of the book. Louis never quits--which is what allows him to find his best friend, Sam, his true love, Serena, and his many talents, including his trumpeting. Louis learns to make his weakness (being mute) a strength (learning how to play the trumpet) and never thinks he can't do anything just because he's a swan--he even learns to read and write!

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can't trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can't even make a sound. And since he can't trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena's affection--he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

Books About Friendship & Animals

Stuart Little book
#1
Stuart Little
Written and illustrated by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A hardcover edition of this treasured story, for which Garth Williams's original black-and-white line drawings for the jacket of Stuart Little have been colorized by the celebrated illustrator Rosemary Wells. Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he's shy and thoughtful, he's also a true lover of adventure. Stuart's greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#2
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is one of my very favorite recent books. I love the illustrations, I'm an absolute sucker for a great rhyme scheme and the message is phenomenal: friends matter more than winning.

From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#3
The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This story is a delightful read with a swan who believes he can do anything, and he does. I loved following along in his adventures and seeing how he dedicates himself. His friend, Sam, was also one of my favorite parts of the book. Louis never quits--which is what allows him to find his best friend, Sam, his true love, Serena, and his many talents, including his trumpeting. Louis learns to make his weakness (being mute) a strength (learning how to play the trumpet) and never thinks he can't do anything just because he's a swan--he even learns to read and write!

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can't trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can't even make a sound. And since he can't trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena's affection--he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Whale in My Swimming Pool - The Book Snob Mom - I'm a huge fan of Joyce Wan's signature illustration style (as a side note, did you know she can even make worms look cute?! I digress). This cute book combines a preposterous situation with one little boy's innovation and problem-solving to create happy humor and good feels all around.

  2. Ribbit! - When a pig visits a frog pond, sits on a rock, and says only "Ribbit!", news spreads fast but only the wise old beetle has an explanation.

  3. Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! - The first three novels in the Animal Inn chapter book series, where the fur—and fun—flies at an animal spa and hotel, are now available together in a fur-tastic paperback edition! The Animal Inn is an all-inclusive pet resort and spa for animals from dogs to rabbits, cats to ducks, parrots to lizards. From doggie and kitty daycare, to grooming, and group play—you name it, and the Animal Inn has it. The Inn is run by the Tyler family along with their pets Leopold, the Macaw; Fuzzy and Furry, the gerbils; dogs Dash and Coco; felines Shadow and Whiskers; and a rollicking horde of animal visitors. In A Furry Fiasco, when the animals hear that a new boarder—a Komodo Dragon—will be coming to the Inn, they panic! Will it gobble them all up and then devour their family? In Treasure Hunt, the animals are convinced a pirate with a glittering treasure is visiting the Animal Inn. Will the animals have to walk the plank in order to survive? Arghhh! And in The Bow-Wow Bus, Cassie Tyler’s first grade class takes a field trip to Animal Inn for a meet and greet. And it’s a furry good time for all—even for the newest kid in class, a goldfish named Blub.

  4. The One and Only Ivan - Soon to be a major motion picture! This Harper Classic edition of the Newbery Medal winner and #1 New York Times bestseller includes an author's note, a letter from the real Ivan's caretaker at Zoo Atlanta, Ivan's "signature," discussion questions, and more. This unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendship. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated book is told from the point of view of Ivan himself. Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes. In the tradition of timeless classics such as Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. Katherine Applegate's novel blends humor and poignancy to create this incredible tale of friendship, art, and hope. The One and Only Ivan was named to multiple state lists, received three starred reviews, and was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon. Plus don't miss Katherine Applegate's Endling series!

Want to see even more books about animals and friendship?

How about books about friendship?

Books About Pets & Animals

Where the Red Fern Grows book
#1
Where the Red Fern Grows
Written by Wilson Rawls
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

I have very fond memories that come flooding back whenever I read this. I love Old Dan and Little Ann (Billy's two hounds)! Rawls tells an incredible story that tugs at the heart of any reader. There are so many gold nuggets that carry great lessons, like Billy's determination to catch his first coon, Billy's diligence throughout the book in caring for his dogs, and the family unity that Billy and his family share. Where the Red Fern Grows is one of the best books there is.

"Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he's finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own--Old Dan and Little Ann--he's ecstatic. It's true that times are tough, but together they'll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan's brawn, Little Ann's brains, and Billy's sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy waits for these determined hunters--now friends--and Billy will learn that hope can grow out of despair and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past. This beloved classic is sure to delight readers of all ages as it captures the powerful bond between man and man's best friend. To commemorate more than fifty years in print, this special edition includes historical materials to enrich this treasured novel."

Dear Zoo book
#2
Dear Zoo
Written and illustrated by Rod Campbell
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Rod Campbell’s classic lift-the-flap book Dear Zoo has been a firm favorite with toddlers and parents alike ever since it was first published in 1982. Young readers love lifting the flaps to discover the animals the zoo has sent—a monkey, a lion, and even an elephant! But will they ever find the perfect pet? With bright, bold artwork, a catchy refrain, and a whole host of favorite animals, Dear Zoo is a must for every child’s bookshelf.

Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! book
#3
Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1!
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The first three novels in the Animal Inn chapter book series, where the fur—and fun—flies at an animal spa and hotel, are now available together in a fur-tastic paperback edition! The Animal Inn is an all-inclusive pet resort and spa for animals from dogs to rabbits, cats to ducks, parrots to lizards. From doggie and kitty daycare, to grooming, and group play—you name it, and the Animal Inn has it. The Inn is run by the Tyler family along with their pets Leopold, the Macaw; Fuzzy and Furry, the gerbils; dogs Dash and Coco; felines Shadow and Whiskers; and a rollicking horde of animal visitors. In A Furry Fiasco, when the animals hear that a new boarder—a Komodo Dragon—will be coming to the Inn, they panic! Will it gobble them all up and then devour their family? In Treasure Hunt, the animals are convinced a pirate with a glittering treasure is visiting the Animal Inn. Will the animals have to walk the plank in order to survive? Arghhh! And in The Bow-Wow Bus, Cassie Tyler’s first grade class takes a field trip to Animal Inn for a meet and greet. And it’s a furry good time for all—even for the newest kid in class, a goldfish named Blub.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Charlotte's Web - Sixty years ago, on October 15, 1952, E.B. White's Charlotte's Web was published. It's gone on to become one of the most beloved children's books of all time. To celebrate this milestone, the renowned Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo has written a heartfelt and poignant tribute to the book that is itself a beautiful translation of White's own view of the world—of the joy he took in the change of seasons, in farm life, in the miracles of life and death, and, in short, the glory of everything. We are proud to include Kate DiCamillo's foreword in the 60th anniversary editions of this cherished classic. Charlotte's Web is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur—and of Wilbur's dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn. With the help of Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, and by a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saved the life of Wilbur, who by this time had grown up to quite a pig. How all this comes about is Mr. White's story. It is a story of the magic of childhood on the farm. The thousands of children who loved Stuart Little, the heroic little city mouse, will be entranced with Charlotte the spider, Wilbur the pig, and Fern, the little girl who understood their language. The forty-seven black-and-white drawings by Garth Williams have all the wonderful detail and warmhearted appeal that children love in his work. Incomparably matched to E.B. White's marvelous story, they speak to each new generation, softly and irresistibly.

  2. Old Yeller - When a novel like Huckleberry Finn, or The Yearling, comes along it defies customary adjectives because of the intensity of the respouse it evokes in the reader. Such a book, we submit, is Old Yeller; to read this eloIquently simple story of a boy and his dog in the Texas hill country is an unforgettable and deeply moving experience. The big, ugly, yellow dog showed up out of nowhere one night and stole a whole side of hanging pork, and when Travis went for him the next morning that dog started yelling like a baby before he was touched. Then he got into the spring water with five-year-old Arliss, Travis took an easy hate to Old Yeller, as they started to call him; in fact, he would have driven him off or killed him if it hadn't been for brother Arliss' loud and violent protests, So Yeller stayed, and Travis soon found he couldn't have got along without him. Pa and Ma and Travis and Arliss lived on Birdsong Creek in the Texas hill country. It wasn't an easy life, but they had a snug cabin that Pa had built himself, and they had their own hogs and their own cattle, and they grew most of what else they needed. The only thing they and the rest of the settlers lacked that year in the late 1860's was cash, so the men decided to get together and drive all the cattle up to the new market in Abilene, Kansas, more than six hundred miles away. Travis was only fourteen, but he was proud of his new role as man of the family and determined to live up to his responsibility. It was hard work, too, plowing until his legs ached, chopping wood until his hands were raw and his head was spinning, weeding the garden in the hot sun, toting the heavy buckets tip from the spring, and trying to keep his mischievous little brother in line. But there were pleasant moments, too: his Ma treating him like a man, and deer hunting in the early-morning stillness, and hot summer nights out in the corn patch under the stars with Old Yeller, trying to keep the coons and skunks out of the winter food supply. And there was plenty of excitement, like the fight between the two bulls, and the time Arliss nearly got mauled by the bear, and trying to catch and mark the new hogs. Here the suspense and excitement reach a peak, only to be topped a few pages later when the crazy-sick loafer wolf goes for Ma. Both times it is Yeller who saves them, only the second time it is not lucky for Yeller, as Travis comes to find out. And in finding out, Travis learns just how much he has come to love that big ugly dog, and he learns something about the pain of life, too. Old Yeller is a story that will be read and treasured by many thousands for years to come. In a shorter form, this has appeared as a three-part serial in Collier's.

  3. Because of Winn-Dixie - One summer’s day, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries – and comes home with a dog. But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It’s because of Winn-Dixie that Opal begins to make friends. And it’s because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, as Opal admits, just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn-Dixie. Featuring a new cover illustration by E. B. Lewis.

  4. My Pet Giraffe - Giraffes make the best pets! Follow a little girl and boy and their pet giraffe as they spy, dress up for Halloween, and play hide-and-seek!

Want to see even more books about animals and pets?

How about books about pets?

Books About Bears & Animals

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear book
#1
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Written and illustrated by Don Wood, Audrey Wood
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Grammy

I have long loved this book and read it literally hundreds of times. The likable Little Mouse, loaded with personality, expends great effort and imagination to protect the strawberry from the thieving bear. Use of varying font sizes cues the reader and adds to the drama and suspense as do the delightful illustrations. There is one illustration in particular, where the mouse is desperately tugging on the stem of the strawberry, in which the manner of illustrating--visual vibrations-- communicate perfectly the mouse's actions. With plenty of suspense and humor along the way, this story has a satisfying ending, although it does leave one wondering just who has been speaking to the mouse.

Little Mouse worries that the big, hungry bear will take his freshly picked, ripe, red strawberry for himself.

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#2
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is one of my very favorite recent books. I love the illustrations, I'm an absolute sucker for a great rhyme scheme and the message is phenomenal: friends matter more than winning.

From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?

Bears Are Big book
#3
Bears Are Big
Written by Douglas Florian and illustrated by Barbara Bakos
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

The funny illustrations, unique animals—get ready to explain what a shrew is!—and clever rhyming make this a totally enjoyable (and quick) read, that at least I rarely get tired of reading. The first two times I read it, it really bothered me that the center two pages didn't seem to go with the "opposites" pattern, but now I enjoy the departure from the norm! This is my favorite of this little series of board books (Flamingos Fly & Once I was a Pollywog).

Discover animal opposites in this playful board book by award-winning author Douglas Florian. Bears are big. Bees are small. Shrews are short. Giraffes are tall. In this fun, rhyming story by award-winning author Douglas Florian, little ones can meet pairs of animals and discover how they're different! The pairs include bears/bees, shrews/giraffes, rhinos/tigers, turtles/snails, sloths/cheetahs, eels/tree frogs, hippos/butterflies, and ravens/doves.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? - Readerly Mom - This book is a perennial favorite for a reason: its call-and-response pattern makes it easy for even very young children to engage with the book. It lends itself particularly well to incorporating elements of rhythm--clapping, snapping, etc. Eric Carle's classic illustrative style is bold and bright, and the animals stand out well on their plain white backgrounds. This book is great for reading to babies, and can be enjoyed for years.

  2. The Bear Who Stared - There once was a bear who liked to stare... and stare... and STARE. Bear doesn't mean to be rude, he's just curious but too shy to say anything. But nobody likes being stared at and it soon gets Bear into trouble. Luckily a goggly-eyed frog helps Bear realise that sometimes a smile is all you need to turn a stare into a friendly hello.

  3. There Are No Bears in This Bakery - The creator of the "New York Times"-bestselling "The Bear Ate Your Sandwich" delivers another sly story of a hungry bear and a smooth-talking narrator: a tough gumshoe of a cat named Muffin. Full color.

  4. The Three Snow Bears - Jan Brett’s bestselling snowy “Goldilocks” retelling is now available in this popular large, durable format. Painted in her signature style, the familiar story and depiction of playful Arctic animals and birds dressed in colorful Inuit costumes make this classic tale a perfect choice for Jan’s youngest fans.

Want to see even more books about animals and bears?

How about books about bears?

Books About Rhyming & Animals

Gotta Go, Buffalo book
#1
Gotta Go, Buffalo
Written by Kevin Meyers, Haily Meyers and illustrated by Haily Meyers
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from Readerly Mom

A clever concept, adorable illustrations, great design, and flaps to lift: what more could you want?! My toddler daughter loves reading this book, and she loves using the silly phrases whenever she's telling someone goodbye. We read this book over and over again, and if we lost our copy, I'd absolutely be ordering a new one ASAP.

Make goodbyes fun with animal rhymes and colorful lift-the-flap illustrations! “So long!” “See you later!” There are so many ways to say goodbye! Lift the flaps in this colorful book to discover favorite animals (and maybe a few new ones, too) and fun goodbyes. Children and grown-ups alike will be giggling before you can say, “Toodle-Loo, Kangaroo!”

This Little Hamster book
#2
This Little Hamster
Written and illustrated by Kass Reich
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Grammy

This Little Hamster is a fun and playful new take on a book about color. The spirited hamsters celebrate their eclectic collections of colorful objects in unexpected combinations in clever, rhyming couplets. The spare, consistent illustrations allow for easy identification of each item, facilitating the assembly of our own colorful objects.

This Little Hamster is a spirited playful board book for babies and toddlers. Rhyming couplets and cheerful illustrations will capture the interest of both child and adult readers. This follow-up to Kass Reich's bestselling debut, Hamsters Holding Hands, is a charming introduction to basic colors that will fascinate little ones.

Flamingos Fly book
#3
Flamingos Fly
Written by Douglas Florian and illustrated by Barbara Bakos
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love the illustrations by Barbara Bakos! They are incredibly cute and colorful! This animal board book contains some different animals than the normal ones you'd think of, which I love. There's also a fun rhyme.

Discover what these animals do in this playful board book by award-winning author Douglas Florian. Flamingos fly. Sailfish swim. Monkeys swing on a jungle gym! Discover what different animals do in this fun, rhyming story by award-winning author Douglas Florian! Animals include flying flamingos, swimming sailfish, swinging monkeys, diving dolphins, soaring swallows, creeping starfish, digging prairie dogs, lunging lizards, plunging pelicans, jumping jaguars, leaping llamas, and sleeping sloths.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Animal Numbers - B is for Bookworm - This book is beautiful, I love the cute, colorful illustrations! This rhyming book introduces little ones to new animals while learning to count to ten. I love the ending where all of the animals meet up and are playing a game!

  2. Dream Animals - Ideal for bed time reading, Dream Animals convinces children to close their eyes and discover who their dream animal might be—a fox? a bear? a narwhal?—and what dream it might take them to. With a perfect nighttime rhyme and gorgeous illustrations, this book is irresistible.

  3. Goat's Coat - This charmingly illustrated rhyming picture book about Alfonzo, a goat with a very special coat, celebrates the power of kindness and friendship. Let me tell you the tale of Alfonzo the goat, who was terribly proud of his lovely new coat. Alfonzo was happy; he pranced and he skipped. Then he heard a sad noise, croaking out of a ditch. Alfonzo couldn't be happier. He just got an amazing new coat, and he feels like a million dollars. But when he discovers some creatures in need of help, will Alfonzo be able to give up his treasured possession to save the day? This great big hug of a book shows that kindness is definitely the best recipe. Awards for Tom Percival Herman's Letter--A Kids' Indie Next List Pick

  4. Once I Was a Pollywog - Discover what these baby animals become when they grow up in this sweet board book by award-winning author Douglas Florian. Once I was a pollywog, but now I am a frog. Once I was a piglet, but now I am a hog. In this fun, rhyming story by award-winning author Douglas Florian, meet different baby animals and discover what they become when they grow up! The baby/adult pairs include: pollywog/frog; piglet/hog; cub/bear; leveret/hare; gosling/goose; calf/moose. And at the end, meet a little boy who will always be his mama's bundle of joy!

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Books About Lift-the-flaps & Animals

Gotta Go, Buffalo book
#1
Gotta Go, Buffalo
Written by Kevin Meyers, Haily Meyers and illustrated by Haily Meyers
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from Readerly Mom

A clever concept, adorable illustrations, great design, and flaps to lift: what more could you want?! My toddler daughter loves reading this book, and she loves using the silly phrases whenever she's telling someone goodbye. We read this book over and over again, and if we lost our copy, I'd absolutely be ordering a new one ASAP.

Make goodbyes fun with animal rhymes and colorful lift-the-flap illustrations! “So long!” “See you later!” There are so many ways to say goodbye! Lift the flaps in this colorful book to discover favorite animals (and maybe a few new ones, too) and fun goodbyes. Children and grown-ups alike will be giggling before you can say, “Toodle-Loo, Kangaroo!”

Hatch book
#2
Hatch
Written and illustrated by Heather Brown
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is such a cute lift-the-flap book and definitely a favorite of my toddler's, so much so that it made the two books cut for the airplane bag. I'm not personally convinced that the top of the book needed to be a circle, particularly since it makes the spine a little weaker, but this book has been dragged all around our house and is no worse for the wear (plus, my son is obsessed with circles... so it gets bonus points from him there.) The rhyming is cute, and the content is simple yet informative, and it's a unique take on eggs!

Can you guess what each egg will hatch? Read the rhyming clues and let your child guess before they “hatch” each egg by lifting the flap to find out who is inside. This lift-a-flap book has a smart but simple design that will entertain and educate about egg-dwelling baby animals.

Dear Zoo book
#3
Dear Zoo
Written and illustrated by Rod Campbell
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Rod Campbell’s classic lift-the-flap book Dear Zoo has been a firm favorite with toddlers and parents alike ever since it was first published in 1982. Young readers love lifting the flaps to discover the animals the zoo has sent—a monkey, a lion, and even an elephant! But will they ever find the perfect pet? With bright, bold artwork, a catchy refrain, and a whole host of favorite animals, Dear Zoo is a must for every child’s bookshelf.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Who's at Home? - B is for Bookworm - This lift-the-flap book is colorful and mostly simple, but when you lift the flaps, you discover the cutest little illustrated animals! I like that this has a woodland theme and helps little ones learn where different animals live.

  2. My Backpack! - A lift-the-flap board book featuring the lovable characters from Skip Hop's Zoo backpacks! What's inside your backpack? Join Bee, Dog, Elephant, Ladybug, and Penguin in this delightful interactive story based on the beloved Zoo backpack line from Skip Hop. Lift the flaps to find out what each animal likes to pack in their backpack, which looks exactly like the real thing! With adorable animal illustrations and a surprise on each spread, this story is sure to get little ones excited about school!

  3. My First Peek-a-Boo Animals - Lift the flaps to discover the animals being described.

  4. What's That Noise? Tap! Tap! - "What's that noise? Lift the flap to find out! Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills -- and simply joining in!"--Page 4 of cover.

Want to see even more books about animals and lift-the-flaps?

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Books About Jobs & Animals

A Boy Called Bat book
#1
A Boy Called Bat
Written by Elana K. Arnold and illustrated by Charles Santoso
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I absolutely adore this book. Bat is a wonderful, developed character that can really help children reading understand and have empathy for those on the Autism spectrum. You get to learn a lot about skunks as Bat takes a particular interest in one, and he has a mother who is a veterinarian!

The first book in a funny, heartfelt, and irresistible young middle grade series starring an unforgettable young boy on the autism spectrum, from acclaimed author Elana K. Arnold and with illustrations by Charles Santoso. For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter. But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet. "This sweet and thoughtful novel chronicles Bat’s experiences and challenges at school with friends and teachers and at home with his sister and divorced parents. Approachable for younger or reluctant readers while still delivering a powerful and thoughtful story" (from the review by Brightly.com, which named A Boy Called Bat a best book of 2017).

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#2
The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This story is a delightful read with a swan who believes he can do anything, and he does. I loved following along in his adventures and seeing how he dedicates himself. His friend, Sam, was also one of my favorite parts of the book. Louis never quits--which is what allows him to find his best friend, Sam, his true love, Serena, and his many talents, including his trumpeting. Louis learns to make his weakness (being mute) a strength (learning how to play the trumpet) and never thinks he can't do anything just because he's a swan--he even learns to read and write!

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can't trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can't even make a sound. And since he can't trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena's affection--he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! book
#3
Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1!
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The first three novels in the Animal Inn chapter book series, where the fur—and fun—flies at an animal spa and hotel, are now available together in a fur-tastic paperback edition! The Animal Inn is an all-inclusive pet resort and spa for animals from dogs to rabbits, cats to ducks, parrots to lizards. From doggie and kitty daycare, to grooming, and group play—you name it, and the Animal Inn has it. The Inn is run by the Tyler family along with their pets Leopold, the Macaw; Fuzzy and Furry, the gerbils; dogs Dash and Coco; felines Shadow and Whiskers; and a rollicking horde of animal visitors. In A Furry Fiasco, when the animals hear that a new boarder—a Komodo Dragon—will be coming to the Inn, they panic! Will it gobble them all up and then devour their family? In Treasure Hunt, the animals are convinced a pirate with a glittering treasure is visiting the Animal Inn. Will the animals have to walk the plank in order to survive? Arghhh! And in The Bow-Wow Bus, Cassie Tyler’s first grade class takes a field trip to Animal Inn for a meet and greet. And it’s a furry good time for all—even for the newest kid in class, a goldfish named Blub.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Sam the Man & The Chicken Plan - Sam the Man wants to earn some money and he’s got a cluck-worthy plan in this endearing chapter book that’s the first in a new series from Frances O’Roark Dowell. Sam the Man needs a job. Even his sister gets twenty bucks a pop for mowing people’s lawns! But seven-year-olds aren’t allowed to mow lawns, so Sam decides to ask his next door neighbor if she needs help doing other chores. It turns out she’ll pay him a whole dollar each time he can convince her dad, Mr. Stockfish, to join him for a walk. But it turns out that getting Mr. Stockfish to leave the living room isn’t easy. AND a dollar a pop isn’t going to cut it. So when Mrs. Kerner, another neighbor, asks if Sam would like to watch her chickens, Sam jumps on the task. You can count on him, yes indeed. Watching chickens is more fun than he expects, and comes with an added bonus: it turns out that visiting the chickens is the one thing that can coax Mr. Stockfish out of the house! But what does a seven-year-old do with all the money he’s earning? It’s too little for a bike, and too much for candy. But wait! It’s just enough for a chicken of his own—the kind that lays BLUE eggs! Soon he has a whole waiting list of kids who want to buy a blue egg. And what does Sam plan on doing with his new fortune? Buy Mr. Stockfish his own chicken, of course!

  2. Hippopotamister - The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He's a good employee, whether he's a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

  3. The Rhino in Right Field - A boy who loves baseball must get past his hard-working immigrant parents—and the rhino in the outfield—to become a batboy in this laugh-out-loud middle-grade novel in the tradition of The Sandlot.

  4. Today I'm a Veterinarian - The Today I'm a . . . shaped board book series takes young children on a week in the life of different aspirational careers. In Today I'm a Veterinarian, kids will follow Dr. Emma, and get to see the various tasks undertaken to heal animals and the tools vets use to keep them healthy. Filled with colorful images of animals and fun vet vocabulary, kids will get a taste of what it's like to be a veterinarian.

Want to see even more books about animals and jobs?

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Books About Bedtime & Animals

Lion's Lullaby book
#1
Lion's Lullaby
Written by Mij Kelly and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-2
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

The illustrations in this book are beautiful with a unique touch. Each page appears only half-illustrated a creative use of solid white shapes. The cadence is calming and makes for a great going-to-bed book. I can't put my finger on why, but this book reminds me of simplicity and the innocence of a child.

With the help of hugs and lullabies, a young girl tucks her stuffed animals into bed, one by one, in this cuddly good-night read. Holly Clifton-Brown's soft palette and adorable illustrations paired with Mij Kelly's comforting rhyming text set the perfect tone for bedtime.

All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep book
#2
All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep
Written by Crescent Dragonwagon and illustrated by David McPhail
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

This is a sweet alphabet book that includes lots of alliteration, but it's not overdone. It's not a book I'd want to read over and over again in the same setting because it's a little bit of mouthful, but the fact that you do have to slow down to read it correctly adds to the soothing tone of the story and it is one I would happily read every day. The watercolor illustrations are soothing as well.

Now in board book format, this lyrical animal ABC book is just right for bedtime--or anytime! From antlered antelope to zzz-ing zebra, all the awake animals are getting sleepy in this abridged board book edition of a favorite bedtime alphabet book, from an acclaimed author and bestselling illustrator. This exquisite celebration of language and nature is perfect for lulling little ones into a cozy, soothing slumber.

Can't Sleep Without Sheep book
#3
Can't Sleep Without Sheep
Written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

After you read this adorable bedtime book, you definitely will not take counting sheep for granted! Super cute premise, adorable illustrations and a great lesson to be appreciative of those helping you, be they real or imaginary. This book also gets points from me for having a diverse main character .

Whenever Ava can't sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it's the sheep that are growing tired-until finally, they quit! When the sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, chaos ensues as chickens, cows, pigs, hippos, and more try their hand at jumping over Ava's fence. Finding the perfectly peaceful replacement for sheep might not be so easy after all. With irresistibly adorable art, this delightful take on a familiar sleep tactic is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

Honorable Mentions
  1. If Animals Kissed Good Night - Grammy - I could read this book night after night. The text rhymes along cleverly describing how each animal pair would kiss goodnight if they kissed as we do. The illustrations are delightful and the layout of the text on the page, as well as the emphasis of strategic words, complement the animals' creativity. Really, it is a pleasure to read.

  2. Sunrise, Moonrise - Day turns into night and some animals drift to sleep while others spring to life in this beautiful high-contrast board book. Sun rises. Bird sings. And so the day begins in this beautifully simple board book with bold artwork and lyrical text that shows us the passing of time in the day. Fish swim under a blue sky, squirrels dream as the sun sets, the moon rises as stars blink, and an owl hoots when night falls. With word repetition and a single tree that houses both the bird who sings as the sun rises and the owl who hoots after the moon rises, little ones can begin to understand that the day begins and ends in the same way.

  3. Dream Animals - Ideal for bed time reading, Dream Animals convinces children to close their eyes and discover who their dream animal might be—a fox? a bear? a narwhal?—and what dream it might take them to. With a perfect nighttime rhyme and gorgeous illustrations, this book is irresistible.

  4. Good Night, Gorilla - A must-have board book for all babies. Good night, Gorilla. Good night, Elephant. It’s bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who’s that short, furry guy with the key in his hand and the mischievous grin? Good night, Giraffe. Good night, Hyena. Sneak along behind the zookeeper’s back, and see who gets the last laugh in this riotous good-night romp.

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Books About Problem Solving & Animals

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear book
#1
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Written and illustrated by Don Wood, Audrey Wood
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Grammy

I have long loved this book and read it literally hundreds of times. The likable Little Mouse, loaded with personality, expends great effort and imagination to protect the strawberry from the thieving bear. Use of varying font sizes cues the reader and adds to the drama and suspense as do the delightful illustrations. There is one illustration in particular, where the mouse is desperately tugging on the stem of the strawberry, in which the manner of illustrating--visual vibrations-- communicate perfectly the mouse's actions. With plenty of suspense and humor along the way, this story has a satisfying ending, although it does leave one wondering just who has been speaking to the mouse.

Little Mouse worries that the big, hungry bear will take his freshly picked, ripe, red strawberry for himself.

Appleblossom the Possum book
#2
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

What a darling book! I love both the realistic aspects about possums as well as the entertaining scenarios the possums are involved in. Appleblossom ends up falling into a house and breaking one of the main possum rules--staying away from humans! Luckily, she has a great possum family and a kind human girl who help her out. The possums are great examples of being there for your family members and pushing out of your comfort zone in order to help those around you. I also learned quite a few fun things about possums!

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

The Whale in My Swimming Pool  book
#3
The Whale in My Swimming Pool
Written and illustrated by Joyce Wan
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I'm a huge fan of Joyce Wan's signature illustration style (as a side note, did you know she can even make worms look cute?! I digress). This cute book combines a preposterous situation with one little boy's innovation and problem-solving to create happy humor and good feels all around.

One sunny day, a little boy heads outside for a swim, but his pool is already taken . . . There's a big whale in the water and it's not budging! The boy tries everything to get the whale to leave. Nothing seems to work. Not fetch. Not tag. Not even offering his allowance. What's a boy to do? Luckily, he comes up with the perfect solution: he decides to chill out on a spray of water over the whale's spout. This colorful whale of a tale from the talented Joyce Wan is sure to inspire giggles from little guppies!

Honorable Mentions
  1. So Light, So Heavy - Elephant is so heavy, and all the other animals are so light. How will the seesaw ever go up and down? Toddlers will be drawn in by repetition, opposites, humor, and an unexpected twist in this board book story about Elephant's quest to get the seesaw to teeter. A cast of friendly animals—who are all so light—try to help move the seesaw, but Elephant's side won't budge. He's so heavy. Then what happens when a child swoops in with other plans? Short, simple, and memorable, this board book offers a satisfying story arc.

  2. Oliver's Tree - A board book about three adorable best friends! Oliver, Charlie, and Lulu love to play outside together. Their favorite game is hide-and-seek, but it’s not fun for Oliver when his friends hide in the trees—he can’t reach them! So the friends set off to find a tree that Oliver can play in. But there’s a reason we don’t see elephants in trees, and just when Oliver is ready to give up the search, Charlie and Lulu surprise him with the perfect tree for them all to play in together!

  3. Henry's Bright Idea - Deep in the shade of a walnut grove stands a tall tree house. A delightful group of friends gathers here. They call themselves the Walnut Animal Society. Their mission is to create and to always remain curious. Henry the Fox is a knowledgeable fellow, known for his unique inventions. Margaux the Kitty’s many books are filled with stories and poems she’s written. Ruthie the Deer loves to dance like the butterflies that flutter outside. The collection of ropes and fishing poles belongs to adventurous Chester the Raccoon. Magnolia the Bunny makes maps of the places she’s explored beyond the walnut grove. And Eleanor the Bear gathers flowers and plants to make tea for her friends. Henry is a founding member of the Walnut Animal Society, an inventor and a tinkerer. Today Henry is not inventing or tinkering. Henry has lost his idea. Follow Henry and his friend Eleanor as they search for Henry’s lost idea and discover much more in this charming picture book, the first in a series of titles, reminiscent of such classics as Winnie the Pooh, and illustrated in a rich, vintage palette.

  4. Little Orange Scarf - Little Owl loves many things, including his tree house in City Park, riding his scooter, and eating ice cream. But he does not love the new orange scarf his mommy makes him wear. It’s too long. It’s too itchy. It’s too . . . orange! After several attempts to lose his orange scarf, Little Owl finally succeeds. But a trip to the yarn store provides Mommy with the perfect solution to keep Little Owl warm and happy. From the author of Small Bunny’s Blue Blanket comes another toddler-friendly—and parent-friendly—board book offering.

Want to see even more books about animals and problem solving?

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Books About Teamwork & Animals

Appleblossom the Possum book
#1
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

What a darling book! I love both the realistic aspects about possums as well as the entertaining scenarios the possums are involved in. Appleblossom ends up falling into a house and breaking one of the main possum rules--staying away from humans! Luckily, she has a great possum family and a kind human girl who help her out. The possums are great examples of being there for your family members and pushing out of your comfort zone in order to help those around you. I also learned quite a few fun things about possums!

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#2
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is one of my very favorite recent books. I love the illustrations, I'm an absolute sucker for a great rhyme scheme and the message is phenomenal: friends matter more than winning.

From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?

Mice of the Round Table #1: A Tail of Camelot book
#3
Mice of the Round Table #1: A Tail of Camelot
Written by Julie Leung and illustrated by Lindsey Carr
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

My favorite part of this book are the strong message to believe in yourself. Throughout the story, Calib saves the day only by having courage and believing he can do it. Watching Calib grow in his confidence makes this book so rewarding, not to mention all the adventure and suspense involved!

An epic new middle grade series in the tradition of Redwall and Poppy, based on Arthurian legend and told from the perspective of Camelot’s most humble creatures: mice Young mouse Calib Christopher aspires to be a Knight of the Round Table. For generations, his family has valiantly led the mice who live just out of sight of the humans, defending Camelot from enemies both big and small. But when a new threat arises—one that could catch even the Two-Leggers off guard—it's up to Calib and his friend Cecily to unmask the real enemy, unite their forces, and save the castle they all call home. With the sweeping adventure of New York Times bestselling series like Wings of Fire and Warriors, Mice of the Round Table brings to life a legendary world of animals and magic that kids will want to return to again and again.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Oliver's Tree - A board book about three adorable best friends! Oliver, Charlie, and Lulu love to play outside together. Their favorite game is hide-and-seek, but it’s not fun for Oliver when his friends hide in the trees—he can’t reach them! So the friends set off to find a tree that Oliver can play in. But there’s a reason we don’t see elephants in trees, and just when Oliver is ready to give up the search, Charlie and Lulu surprise him with the perfect tree for them all to play in together!

  2. Badir and the Beaver - I t’s Ramadan, a time to focus on good deeds and to fast, and Badir and his brother, Anis, are out for a walk one evening while they wait for their iftar meal. In the park Badir sees a rat. A very, very large rat. He soon learns it’s actually a beaver, an animal that doesn’t live in Tunisia, the country Badir and his family have emigrated from. It turns out that some of the neighbors who enjoy the park think this beaver is a bit of a pest, but Badir thinks it’s wonderful and learns everything he can about the iconic Canadian animal. When a petition is started to remove the beaver, Badir, who knows firsthand how difficult it is to leave your home behind, rallies his classmates to save it. And with a little help from new friends, the kids learn that collaboration and faith can change the way we think about the world.

  3. That Fruit Is Mine! - When five fruit-loving elephants spot a scrumptious hard-to-reach fruit high up in a tree, it's a race to see who can claim it first! But after one too many fumbles, the elephants begin to lose their cool, and the highly coveted fruit is whisked away by the teeny-tiniest of all jungle creatures—mice! The elephants soon realize they have a lot to learn from this cooperative little bunch.

  4. Gooseberry Park and the Master Plan - Stumpy, Murray, Gwendolyn, and Kona recruit Herman the crow and 200 owls to help with their Master Plan to assist the animals of Gooseberry Park that are in trouble because of a months-long drought.

Want to see even more books about animals and teamwork?

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Books About Trying New Things & Animals

Appleblossom the Possum book
#1
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

What a darling book! I love both the realistic aspects about possums as well as the entertaining scenarios the possums are involved in. Appleblossom ends up falling into a house and breaking one of the main possum rules--staying away from humans! Luckily, she has a great possum family and a kind human girl who help her out. The possums are great examples of being there for your family members and pushing out of your comfort zone in order to help those around you. I also learned quite a few fun things about possums!

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#2
The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This story is a delightful read with a swan who believes he can do anything, and he does. I loved following along in his adventures and seeing how he dedicates himself. His friend, Sam, was also one of my favorite parts of the book. Louis never quits--which is what allows him to find his best friend, Sam, his true love, Serena, and his many talents, including his trumpeting. Louis learns to make his weakness (being mute) a strength (learning how to play the trumpet) and never thinks he can't do anything just because he's a swan--he even learns to read and write!

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can't trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can't even make a sound. And since he can't trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena's affection--he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

Sam the Man & The Chicken Plan book
#3
Sam the Man & The Chicken Plan
Written by Frances O’Roark Dowell and illustrated by Amy June Bates
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Sam the Man wants to earn some money and he’s got a cluck-worthy plan in this endearing chapter book that’s the first in a new series from Frances O’Roark Dowell. Sam the Man needs a job. Even his sister gets twenty bucks a pop for mowing people’s lawns! But seven-year-olds aren’t allowed to mow lawns, so Sam decides to ask his next door neighbor if she needs help doing other chores. It turns out she’ll pay him a whole dollar each time he can convince her dad, Mr. Stockfish, to join him for a walk. But it turns out that getting Mr. Stockfish to leave the living room isn’t easy. AND a dollar a pop isn’t going to cut it. So when Mrs. Kerner, another neighbor, asks if Sam would like to watch her chickens, Sam jumps on the task. You can count on him, yes indeed. Watching chickens is more fun than he expects, and comes with an added bonus: it turns out that visiting the chickens is the one thing that can coax Mr. Stockfish out of the house! But what does a seven-year-old do with all the money he’s earning? It’s too little for a bike, and too much for candy. But wait! It’s just enough for a chicken of his own—the kind that lays BLUE eggs! Soon he has a whole waiting list of kids who want to buy a blue egg. And what does Sam plan on doing with his new fortune? Buy Mr. Stockfish his own chicken, of course!

Honorable Mentions
  1. When Your Llama Needs a Haircut - When it’s picture day and you realize your llama needs a haircut, you’ll need a good comb and some luck! This charming and hilarious board book features one shaggy llama and a whole lot of hairstyles! Uh-oh. It’s picture day and someone's a mess! Does your llama need a haircut? After a hilarious shampoo, it’s time to decide which style would be best for your shaggy llama. A mohawk? Layers? Or how about a brand-new fur color? But be careful…or you just might end up with a haircut, too!

  2. My New Shoes - Get ready to buy some new shoes in this fun follow-up to My First Day, now available as a board book! My feet are growing. What great news! It's time to buy a pair of shoes. In this simple introduction to buying a new pair of shoes, a little bear shops for shoes with his dad. He gets his feet measured and imagines all the different sorts of shoes people buy, such as sneakers, high heels, rain boots, sandals, light-up shoes, even shoes that look like sharks! This follow-up to the well-received My First Day is filled with short, fun, and rhyming text with lots of rhythm and adorable animal characters to share in the experience.

  3. Pouch! - Caldecott Honor winner David Ezra Stein’s delightful tale of a baby kangaroo’s first hops toward independence is perfect for board book audiences. Joey wants to go exploring, but at first he isn’t sure he’s ready to leave Mama’s safe, warm pouch. Touching on a universal childhood experience, this sweet tale celebrates trying new things.

  4. Froggy Learns to Swim - Zzzziiiinnngggg splash! Everyone’s favorite frog learns to swim! Frogs are supposed to be great swimmers. “Not me!” says Froggy, who’s afraid of the water. But with a little encouragement, some practice, and the help of a silly song or two, Froggy becomes an expert frog-kicker!

Want to see even more books about animals and trying new things?

How about books about trying new things?

Books About Baby Animals & Animals

Appleblossom the Possum book
#1
Appleblossom the Possum
Written by and illustrated by Holly Goldberg Sloan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

What a darling book! I love both the realistic aspects about possums as well as the entertaining scenarios the possums are involved in. Appleblossom ends up falling into a house and breaking one of the main possum rules--staying away from humans! Luckily, she has a great possum family and a kind human girl who help her out. The possums are great examples of being there for your family members and pushing out of your comfort zone in order to help those around you. I also learned quite a few fun things about possums!

Mama has trained up her baby possums in the ways of their breed, and now it’s time for all of them—even little Appleblossom—to make their way in the world. Appleblossom knows the rules: she must never be seen during the day, and she must avoid cars, humans, and the dreaded hairies (sometimes known as dogs). Even so, Appleblossom decides to spy on a human family—and accidentally falls down their chimney! The curious Appleblossom, her faithful brothers—who launch a hilarious rescue mission—and even the little girl in the house have no idea how fascinating the big world can be. But they’re about to find out! With dynamic illustrations, a tight-knit family, and a glimpse at the world from a charming little marsupial’s point of view, this cozy animal story is a perfect read-aloud and a classic in the making.

Little Friends: Big and Small book
#2
Little Friends: Big and Small
Written and illustrated by Roger Priddy, Natalie Munday, Barbi Sido, Amy A. Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Such a fun book to learn opposites with, especially because of the fun mini book that fits into the bigger book! The mini book has pages with the baby animals related to the animal on the page in the bigger part of the book, and the opposites are in the big book and the corresponding page in the little book. :) The illustrations are really cute, too!

Invites young readers to match the sentences on each page with similar sentences featuring opposing terms that appear in a corner of the book that has pages that move independently.

Hatch book
#3
Hatch
Written and illustrated by Heather Brown
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is such a cute lift-the-flap book and definitely a favorite of my toddler's, so much so that it made the two books cut for the airplane bag. I'm not personally convinced that the top of the book needed to be a circle, particularly since it makes the spine a little weaker, but this book has been dragged all around our house and is no worse for the wear (plus, my son is obsessed with circles... so it gets bonus points from him there.) The rhyming is cute, and the content is simple yet informative, and it's a unique take on eggs!

Can you guess what each egg will hatch? Read the rhyming clues and let your child guess before they “hatch” each egg by lifting the flap to find out who is inside. This lift-a-flap book has a smart but simple design that will entertain and educate about egg-dwelling baby animals.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Once I Was a Pollywog - Discover what these baby animals become when they grow up in this sweet board book by award-winning author Douglas Florian. Once I was a pollywog, but now I am a frog. Once I was a piglet, but now I am a hog. In this fun, rhyming story by award-winning author Douglas Florian, meet different baby animals and discover what they become when they grow up! The baby/adult pairs include: pollywog/frog; piglet/hog; cub/bear; leveret/hare; gosling/goose; calf/moose. And at the end, meet a little boy who will always be his mama's bundle of joy!

  2. Mommy's Best Kisses - Every mother knows that the sweetest way to say "I love you" is with a kiss. This loving book shows that animals know all about a mother's love, too.

  3. The Secret of the Egg - Discover the delights of nature with zoologist, poet, and top children's book author, Nicola Davies. Follow the young adventurer as she explores eggs of all shapes and sizes, where they may be hiding and what secrets could be held within. The easy rhymes encourage children to join in. With zoologically accurate, bright, and exciting illustrations by Abbie Cameron, this book explores the huge variety of animal and insect eggs and is one in a series of rhyming picture books which entertain and educate on a wide range of animals.

  4. Zoo Babies - Learning about the zoo has never been more fun for parents and kids with this board book, which shows baby lions, elephants, and giraffes in action. Get ready to visit the best part of every zoo with Zoo Babies, a book introducing early readers to the pint-sized versions of their favorite exotic animals. This itty-bitty zoo-on-the-go takes adorable baby animals, stirs in some fun illustrations, and adds easy descriptive sentences---a recipe for a guaranteed good time. Baby elephants spraying water, lion cubs at play, and tiny giraffes learning to stand will easily capture the hearts of kids and parents alike in Zoo Babies.

Want to see even more books about animals and baby animals?

How about books about baby animals?

Books About Dogs & Animals

Where the Red Fern Grows book
#1
Where the Red Fern Grows
Written by Wilson Rawls
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

I have very fond memories that come flooding back whenever I read this. I love Old Dan and Little Ann (Billy's two hounds)! Rawls tells an incredible story that tugs at the heart of any reader. There are so many gold nuggets that carry great lessons, like Billy's determination to catch his first coon, Billy's diligence throughout the book in caring for his dogs, and the family unity that Billy and his family share. Where the Red Fern Grows is one of the best books there is.

"Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he's finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own--Old Dan and Little Ann--he's ecstatic. It's true that times are tough, but together they'll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan's brawn, Little Ann's brains, and Billy's sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy waits for these determined hunters--now friends--and Billy will learn that hope can grow out of despair and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past. This beloved classic is sure to delight readers of all ages as it captures the powerful bond between man and man's best friend. To commemorate more than fifty years in print, this special edition includes historical materials to enrich this treasured novel."

Old Yeller book
#2
Old Yeller
Written by Fred Gipson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

When a novel like Huckleberry Finn, or The Yearling, comes along it defies customary adjectives because of the intensity of the respouse it evokes in the reader. Such a book, we submit, is Old Yeller; to read this eloIquently simple story of a boy and his dog in the Texas hill country is an unforgettable and deeply moving experience. The big, ugly, yellow dog showed up out of nowhere one night and stole a whole side of hanging pork, and when Travis went for him the next morning that dog started yelling like a baby before he was touched. Then he got into the spring water with five-year-old Arliss, Travis took an easy hate to Old Yeller, as they started to call him; in fact, he would have driven him off or killed him if it hadn't been for brother Arliss' loud and violent protests, So Yeller stayed, and Travis soon found he couldn't have got along without him. Pa and Ma and Travis and Arliss lived on Birdsong Creek in the Texas hill country. It wasn't an easy life, but they had a snug cabin that Pa had built himself, and they had their own hogs and their own cattle, and they grew most of what else they needed. The only thing they and the rest of the settlers lacked that year in the late 1860's was cash, so the men decided to get together and drive all the cattle up to the new market in Abilene, Kansas, more than six hundred miles away. Travis was only fourteen, but he was proud of his new role as man of the family and determined to live up to his responsibility. It was hard work, too, plowing until his legs ached, chopping wood until his hands were raw and his head was spinning, weeding the garden in the hot sun, toting the heavy buckets tip from the spring, and trying to keep his mischievous little brother in line. But there were pleasant moments, too: his Ma treating him like a man, and deer hunting in the early-morning stillness, and hot summer nights out in the corn patch under the stars with Old Yeller, trying to keep the coons and skunks out of the winter food supply. And there was plenty of excitement, like the fight between the two bulls, and the time Arliss nearly got mauled by the bear, and trying to catch and mark the new hogs. Here the suspense and excitement reach a peak, only to be topped a few pages later when the crazy-sick loafer wolf goes for Ma. Both times it is Yeller who saves them, only the second time it is not lucky for Yeller, as Travis comes to find out. And in finding out, Travis learns just how much he has come to love that big ugly dog, and he learns something about the pain of life, too. Old Yeller is a story that will be read and treasured by many thousands for years to come. In a shorter form, this has appeared as a three-part serial in Collier's.

Because of Winn-Dixie book
#3
Because of Winn-Dixie
Written and illustrated by Kate DiCamillo
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

One summer’s day, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries – and comes home with a dog. But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It’s because of Winn-Dixie that Opal begins to make friends. And it’s because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, as Opal admits, just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn-Dixie. Featuring a new cover illustration by E. B. Lewis.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Soapstone Porcupine - The dog shows up the way snow does on a winter’s day. She just drifts in and stays, becoming the friend of a young Cree boy. The boy and the dog set out on an adventure that ends in a quandary of quills and a big brother who swears to take revenge on the porcupine. But Lindy, a Cree elder and master carver, reminds the brothers of the importance of the great porcupine. After a day spent carving in town, the boy learns some truths about human nature and realizes that sometimes, like the porcupine, you must put your quills up to keep from getting pushed around. Soapstone Porcupine is the second book, after Soapstone Signs, narrated by a young Cree boy.

  2. Follow Me - Follow, point, press! Children are invited to interact with the bright, bold artwork to complete simple activities using their fingers. Follow the wiggly dog to pat him on the head, help the butterflies get to the flowers and lots more. Features tactile embossing on every page. These activities are perfect for encouraging the development of fine motor skills.

  3. Anna, Banana, and Monkey in the Middle - Anna is lucky to have two best friends—it makes everything twice as fun. She’s excited to go with Sadie and Isabel on their class trip to the zoo. But when Anna’s two best friends start choosing opposite sides on everything, Anna feels caught in the middle. Sadie wants Anna to see the spiny anteater with her, but Isabel wants to visit the tortoise instead. When Isabel pulls Anna toward the camel house, Sadie yanks her toward the giraffes. It’s like they’re playing a game of tug-of-war and Anna is the rope! How can Anna keep the peace without causing double trouble?

  4. Science Comics: Dogs - How well do you know our favorite furry companion? Did they really descend from wolves? What's the difference between a Chihuahua and a Saint Bernard? And just how smart are they? Join one friendly mutt on a journey to discover the secret origin of dogs, how genetics and evolution shape species, and where in the world his favorite ball bounced off to. Every volume of Science Comics offers a complete introduction to a particular topic—dinosaurs, coral reefs, the solar system, volcanoes, bats, flying machines, and more. These gorgeously illustrated graphic novels offer wildly entertaining views of their subjects. Whether you're a fourth grader doing a natural science unit at school or a thirty year old with a secret passion for airplanes, these books are for you!

Want to see even more books about animals and dogs?

How about books about dogs?

Books About Death & Animals

Where the Red Fern Grows book
#1
Where the Red Fern Grows
Written by Wilson Rawls
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle

I have very fond memories that come flooding back whenever I read this. I love Old Dan and Little Ann (Billy's two hounds)! Rawls tells an incredible story that tugs at the heart of any reader. There are so many gold nuggets that carry great lessons, like Billy's determination to catch his first coon, Billy's diligence throughout the book in caring for his dogs, and the family unity that Billy and his family share. Where the Red Fern Grows is one of the best books there is.

"Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he's finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own--Old Dan and Little Ann--he's ecstatic. It's true that times are tough, but together they'll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan's brawn, Little Ann's brains, and Billy's sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy waits for these determined hunters--now friends--and Billy will learn that hope can grow out of despair and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past. This beloved classic is sure to delight readers of all ages as it captures the powerful bond between man and man's best friend. To commemorate more than fifty years in print, this special edition includes historical materials to enrich this treasured novel."

Charlotte's Web book
#2
Charlotte's Web
Written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Sixty years ago, on October 15, 1952, E.B. White's Charlotte's Web was published. It's gone on to become one of the most beloved children's books of all time. To celebrate this milestone, the renowned Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo has written a heartfelt and poignant tribute to the book that is itself a beautiful translation of White's own view of the world—of the joy he took in the change of seasons, in farm life, in the miracles of life and death, and, in short, the glory of everything. We are proud to include Kate DiCamillo's foreword in the 60th anniversary editions of this cherished classic. Charlotte's Web is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur—and of Wilbur's dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn. With the help of Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, and by a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saved the life of Wilbur, who by this time had grown up to quite a pig. How all this comes about is Mr. White's story. It is a story of the magic of childhood on the farm. The thousands of children who loved Stuart Little, the heroic little city mouse, will be entranced with Charlotte the spider, Wilbur the pig, and Fern, the little girl who understood their language. The forty-seven black-and-white drawings by Garth Williams have all the wonderful detail and warmhearted appeal that children love in his work. Incomparably matched to E.B. White's marvelous story, they speak to each new generation, softly and irresistibly.

Old Yeller book
#3
Old Yeller
Written by Fred Gipson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

When a novel like Huckleberry Finn, or The Yearling, comes along it defies customary adjectives because of the intensity of the respouse it evokes in the reader. Such a book, we submit, is Old Yeller; to read this eloIquently simple story of a boy and his dog in the Texas hill country is an unforgettable and deeply moving experience. The big, ugly, yellow dog showed up out of nowhere one night and stole a whole side of hanging pork, and when Travis went for him the next morning that dog started yelling like a baby before he was touched. Then he got into the spring water with five-year-old Arliss, Travis took an easy hate to Old Yeller, as they started to call him; in fact, he would have driven him off or killed him if it hadn't been for brother Arliss' loud and violent protests, So Yeller stayed, and Travis soon found he couldn't have got along without him. Pa and Ma and Travis and Arliss lived on Birdsong Creek in the Texas hill country. It wasn't an easy life, but they had a snug cabin that Pa had built himself, and they had their own hogs and their own cattle, and they grew most of what else they needed. The only thing they and the rest of the settlers lacked that year in the late 1860's was cash, so the men decided to get together and drive all the cattle up to the new market in Abilene, Kansas, more than six hundred miles away. Travis was only fourteen, but he was proud of his new role as man of the family and determined to live up to his responsibility. It was hard work, too, plowing until his legs ached, chopping wood until his hands were raw and his head was spinning, weeding the garden in the hot sun, toting the heavy buckets tip from the spring, and trying to keep his mischievous little brother in line. But there were pleasant moments, too: his Ma treating him like a man, and deer hunting in the early-morning stillness, and hot summer nights out in the corn patch under the stars with Old Yeller, trying to keep the coons and skunks out of the winter food supply. And there was plenty of excitement, like the fight between the two bulls, and the time Arliss nearly got mauled by the bear, and trying to catch and mark the new hogs. Here the suspense and excitement reach a peak, only to be topped a few pages later when the crazy-sick loafer wolf goes for Ma. Both times it is Yeller who saves them, only the second time it is not lucky for Yeller, as Travis comes to find out. And in finding out, Travis learns just how much he has come to love that big ugly dog, and he learns something about the pain of life, too. Old Yeller is a story that will be read and treasured by many thousands for years to come. In a shorter form, this has appeared as a three-part serial in Collier's.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Shadwos and Light - A girl who changes into a hare to evade a cruel lover. One in a series of short stories that explore the deeper, darker side of our connection with the natural world. Inspired by ancient folk tales and a love of nature. Be ready to feel a little bit of magic, and perhaps a few shivers down the spine.

  2. Elias Martin - Elias Martin lives a scowling, solitary life for a decade until a small, lost child wanders into his path. One in a series of tales that explore the deeper, darker side of our connection with the natural world. Be ready to feel a little bit of magic, and perhaps a few shivers down the spine.

  3. A Whisper of Horses - A futuristic adventure fantasy in which an orphaned girl is on a quest to find the last horses on Earth Serendipity lives inside a walled city. Before her mother died, she gave Seren an old figurine of a horse. Horses no longer exist in Serendipity’s world, but when she discovers a map that may lead her to real horses, she starts on a journey that will take her far from everything she knows. Traveling with an orphan boy, Tab, and his beloved dog, she's soon on the run from a powerful and dangerous man who will do anything to make sure Serendipity never leaves the walled city again.

Want to see even more books about animals and death?

How about books about death?

Books About The Zoo & Animals

My Heart Is Like a Zoo book
#1
My Heart Is Like a Zoo
Written and illustrated by Michael Hall
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from Grammy

I am amazed at how creatively Michael Hall illustrates so many different animals, somehow also communicating their size and character in blocks of bold color. Told in rhyming couplets with great vocabulary the animals engage in some typical and some zany activities. At the end of the sleepy zookeeper's day, it all makes perfect sense. This is a favorite with my grandson and I am happy to read it again and again.

"A simple heart shape and bright primary colors become lions, herons, and other zoo animals. Entertaining short sentences about each animal are fun to read, and as kids learn their numbers they can count the hearts that make up each animal, giving this title a little extra longevity." - Seira Wilson, Amazon Editor The New York Times bestseller My Heart Is Like a Zoo features bright colors, simple sentences, playful animals, and more than 300 hearts for children to count and enjoy. Caldecott Medalist Brian Selznick says, "Starting with one simple shape, Michael Hall shows us a nearly infinite number of ways to make a menagerie of love." This board book edition of the award-winning picture book is perfect for little hands and the very youngest readers, who will learn that a heart can be hopeful, silly, happy, rugged, snappy, or lonely. A heart holds every different feeling, and author-artist Michael Hall captures each one with his bold, graphic artwork. An ideal springboard for conversations about emotions, and for introducing concepts, math, and art projects in the classroom and at home. School Library Journal called it an "outstanding choice for one-on-one sharing."

Dear Zoo book
#2
Dear Zoo
Written and illustrated by Rod Campbell
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Rod Campbell’s classic lift-the-flap book Dear Zoo has been a firm favorite with toddlers and parents alike ever since it was first published in 1982. Young readers love lifting the flaps to discover the animals the zoo has sent—a monkey, a lion, and even an elephant! But will they ever find the perfect pet? With bright, bold artwork, a catchy refrain, and a whole host of favorite animals, Dear Zoo is a must for every child’s bookshelf.

The One and Only Ivan book
#3
The One and Only Ivan
Written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Patricia Castelao
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Soon to be a major motion picture! This Harper Classic edition of the Newbery Medal winner and #1 New York Times bestseller includes an author's note, a letter from the real Ivan's caretaker at Zoo Atlanta, Ivan's "signature," discussion questions, and more. This unforgettable novel from renowned author Katherine Applegate celebrates the transformative power of unexpected friendship. Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this illustrated book is told from the point of view of Ivan himself. Having spent twenty-seven years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall, Ivan has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, his friends Stella and Bob, and painting. But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes. In the tradition of timeless classics such as Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little. Katherine Applegate's novel blends humor and poignancy to create this incredible tale of friendship, art, and hope. The One and Only Ivan was named to multiple state lists, received three starred reviews, and was hailed as a best book of the year by Kirkus, School Library Journal, and Amazon. Plus don't miss Katherine Applegate's Endling series!

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Opposite Zoo - After the zoo closes, monkey slips out of his cage to explore the zoo, introducing the reader to the other animals and the idea of opposites.

  2. The Opposite Zoo - After the zoo closes, a monkey slips out of his cage to explore the zoo, introducing the reader to the other animals and the idea of opposites.

  3. Good Night, Gorilla - A must-have board book for all babies. Good night, Gorilla. Good night, Elephant. It’s bedtime at the zoo, and all the animals are going to sleep. Or are they? Who’s that short, furry guy with the key in his hand and the mischievous grin? Good night, Giraffe. Good night, Hyena. Sneak along behind the zookeeper’s back, and see who gets the last laugh in this riotous good-night romp.

  4. Zoo Day - Beloved author Anne Rockwell celebrates animals of all kinds with a gorgeous new picture book about a child’s first visit to the zoo! A young boy and his family visit the zoo for the very first time. From gorillas to lions, polar bears to parrots, Anne Rockwell and her daughter, artist Lizzy Rockwell, celebrate a day he will never forget. With simple, lyrical text and bright illustrations that jump off the page, Zoo Day brings the joys of visiting the zoo vividly to life.

Want to see even more books about animals and the zoo?

How about books about the zoo?

Books About Interactive & Animals

Hide and Seek book
#1
Hide and Seek
Written and illustrated by Taro Gomi
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I love this hide-and-seek board book! The illustrations are cute and I love all of the different objects you get to find. This is a great one for older kids, too, because some of the hidden objects are a little tricky (though perfectly suitable for little ones, who may need a little help from parents).

In this sly activity board book from celebrated international favorite Taro Gomi, young readers will delight to find hidden objects amidst familiar characters. When a crocodile's dangerous smile can become a shiny toothbrush and a butterfly's camouflage transforms into adorable heart shapes, there's no telling what comes next! Kids will love learning that not everything in this world is as it seems. Sure to be a hit during both storytime and playtime!

Hatch book
#2
Hatch
Written and illustrated by Heather Brown
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is such a cute lift-the-flap book and definitely a favorite of my toddler's, so much so that it made the two books cut for the airplane bag. I'm not personally convinced that the top of the book needed to be a circle, particularly since it makes the spine a little weaker, but this book has been dragged all around our house and is no worse for the wear (plus, my son is obsessed with circles... so it gets bonus points from him there.) The rhyming is cute, and the content is simple yet informative, and it's a unique take on eggs!

Can you guess what each egg will hatch? Read the rhyming clues and let your child guess before they “hatch” each egg by lifting the flap to find out who is inside. This lift-a-flap book has a smart but simple design that will entertain and educate about egg-dwelling baby animals.

Animal Homes book
#3
Animal Homes
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

After a first read through on my own, I'd probably have given this a 4.5, but my toddler is obsessed with this book, as are several of our other toddler friends, so I've developed a lot of appreciation for this book. The illustrations are really cute and the interactive activity of matching animals to their homes, with the raised textures on each illustrations to add interest, makes this an enjoyable read. It's also one my son is happy to "read" to himself!

Introduce little ones to all sorts of different homes for animals! In Animal Homes, little ones will be asked which homes belong to which animals. The pages of this book are filled with familiar, kid-friendly animals such as cats, fish, dogs, birds, and more, rendered in soft colors that make this an even more enjoyable experience for babies. Each page includes an embossed animal home, creating a tactile experience for tiny hands. And on the last spread, all the animals appear with their correct homes!

Honorable Mentions
  1. My Backpack! - A lift-the-flap board book featuring the lovable characters from Skip Hop's Zoo backpacks! What's inside your backpack? Join Bee, Dog, Elephant, Ladybug, and Penguin in this delightful interactive story based on the beloved Zoo backpack line from Skip Hop. Lift the flaps to find out what each animal likes to pack in their backpack, which looks exactly like the real thing! With adorable animal illustrations and a surprise on each spread, this story is sure to get little ones excited about school!

  2. Wiggle! - It's more than a book—it's a game! Every spread is missing a key element of a featured animal—from an elephant's trunk to a penguin's beak, these creatures are incomplete. And it's up to young readers to help them out! Kids can finish the illustration by wiggling their fingers through suitably placed die-cuts. Children are sure to giggle at the silliness of turning their fingers into elephant trunks and chameleon tongues—and learn a bit about animal features on the way!

  3. Simon Says Moo Like a Cow - Invites readers to make various animal sounds, including those made by pigs, cows, and horses. On board pages.

  4. Who Wears What? - Who wears the fluffy hat? What about the shiny boots? Touch each page and find out which animal wears what and how it feels! A host of cute animals introduce younger children to different textures and new adjectives in this Touch and Feel board book.

Want to see even more books about animals and interactive?

How about books about interactive?

Books About Calming Reads For Bedtime & Animals

Lion's Lullaby book
#1
Lion's Lullaby
Written by Mij Kelly and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-2
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

The illustrations in this book are beautiful with a unique touch. Each page appears only half-illustrated a creative use of solid white shapes. The cadence is calming and makes for a great going-to-bed book. I can't put my finger on why, but this book reminds me of simplicity and the innocence of a child.

With the help of hugs and lullabies, a young girl tucks her stuffed animals into bed, one by one, in this cuddly good-night read. Holly Clifton-Brown's soft palette and adorable illustrations paired with Mij Kelly's comforting rhyming text set the perfect tone for bedtime.

All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep book
#2
All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep
Written by Crescent Dragonwagon and illustrated by David McPhail
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

This is a sweet alphabet book that includes lots of alliteration, but it's not overdone. It's not a book I'd want to read over and over again in the same setting because it's a little bit of mouthful, but the fact that you do have to slow down to read it correctly adds to the soothing tone of the story and it is one I would happily read every day. The watercolor illustrations are soothing as well.

Now in board book format, this lyrical animal ABC book is just right for bedtime--or anytime! From antlered antelope to zzz-ing zebra, all the awake animals are getting sleepy in this abridged board book edition of a favorite bedtime alphabet book, from an acclaimed author and bestselling illustrator. This exquisite celebration of language and nature is perfect for lulling little ones into a cozy, soothing slumber.

Can't Sleep Without Sheep book
#3
Can't Sleep Without Sheep
Written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

After you read this adorable bedtime book, you definitely will not take counting sheep for granted! Super cute premise, adorable illustrations and a great lesson to be appreciative of those helping you, be they real or imaginary. This book also gets points from me for having a diverse main character .

Whenever Ava can't sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it's the sheep that are growing tired-until finally, they quit! When the sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, chaos ensues as chickens, cows, pigs, hippos, and more try their hand at jumping over Ava's fence. Finding the perfectly peaceful replacement for sheep might not be so easy after all. With irresistibly adorable art, this delightful take on a familiar sleep tactic is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Sunrise, Moonrise - Day turns into night and some animals drift to sleep while others spring to life in this beautiful high-contrast board book. Sun rises. Bird sings. And so the day begins in this beautifully simple board book with bold artwork and lyrical text that shows us the passing of time in the day. Fish swim under a blue sky, squirrels dream as the sun sets, the moon rises as stars blink, and an owl hoots when night falls. With word repetition and a single tree that houses both the bird who sings as the sun rises and the owl who hoots after the moon rises, little ones can begin to understand that the day begins and ends in the same way.

  2. Mommy's Best Kisses - Every mother knows that the sweetest way to say "I love you" is with a kiss. This loving book shows that animals know all about a mother's love, too.

  3. A Book of Sleep - When the sky grows dark and the moon glows bright, everyone goes to sleep… except for the watchful owl! With a spare, soothing text and beautifully rich and textured illustrations of a starry night, this is the perfect “book of sleep.” Join the owl on his moonlit journey as he watches all the other animals settle in for the night: some sleep standing up, while some sleep on the move! Some sleep peacefully alone, while others sleep all together, huddled close. Il Sung Na makes his American debut with this gorgeous bedtime offering. While each animal rests in its own special way, little ones will also drift off to a cozy sleep.

  4. Night Knight - Come on a bedtime adventure with one little knight as he rides through forests to reach his bedroom, battles crocodiles to brush his teeth and climbs the tallest tower to get into bed. This exciting and imaginative bedtime tale is told through Owen Davey's charming and witty words and illustrations — making this a perfect k-nightly read for every young adventurer. Bedtime becomes an unforgettable k-nightly adventure!

Want to see even more books about animals and calming reads for bedtime?

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Books About Alphabet (abc's) & Animals

All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep book
#1
All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep
Written by Crescent Dragonwagon and illustrated by David McPhail
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

This is a sweet alphabet book that includes lots of alliteration, but it's not overdone. It's not a book I'd want to read over and over again in the same setting because it's a little bit of mouthful, but the fact that you do have to slow down to read it correctly adds to the soothing tone of the story and it is one I would happily read every day. The watercolor illustrations are soothing as well.

Now in board book format, this lyrical animal ABC book is just right for bedtime--or anytime! From antlered antelope to zzz-ing zebra, all the awake animals are getting sleepy in this abridged board book edition of a favorite bedtime alphabet book, from an acclaimed author and bestselling illustrator. This exquisite celebration of language and nature is perfect for lulling little ones into a cozy, soothing slumber.

Arf! Buzz! Cluck! A Rather Noisy Alphabet book
#2
Arf! Buzz! Cluck! A Rather Noisy Alphabet
Written by Eric Seltzer and illustrated by David Creighton-Pester
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This clever take on an alphabet book (using their noises rather than the animals themselves!) has great cadence and vibrant illustrations. I love how the variety of habitats shown and how each page seamlessly combines different animals and their sounds.

Moo! Neigh! Oink! Peep! This silly and inventive alphabet board book teaches little ones the ABCs with animal sounds! We Arf We Buzz We Baaah We Coo We Chirp and Cluck and cock-a-Doodle-Doo!

Alphabet Kingdom book
#3
Alphabet Kingdom
Written and illustrated by Starla Michelle Halfmann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-4
Thoughts from Lemony Snickers

Alphabet Kingdom is full of beautiful, kaleidoscopic illustrations. Each page is vibrant with color and life, and Staria Michelle Halfmann has a beautiful style. For a child who appreciates beautiful art, this would be a great choice. On the other hand, if children are interested in variety and words, this might not be the perfect fit. This book will catch the attention of most adults, but I'm less confident that it will interest most children. Still a favorite when it comes illustration-only, or at least, illustration-focused children's books.

In this large-format alphabet book, the letters of the English language come alive through the artwork of Austin-based fine artist Starla Michelle Halfmann. Children will learn and marvel as their ABCs become members of the animal kingdom, and adults will appreciate the beauty of this gorgeously rendered wordless picture book.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Jane Foster's ABC - Introduce little ones to letters in this bold and graphic style board book by illustrator and textile designer Jane Foster. In this ABC board book, children will be introduced to letters by associating them with animals, such as D for duck, L for lion, and Z for zebra.

  2. Alphaprints: ABC - Indentifies the letters of the alphabet using illustrations of animals representing each letter, comprised of finger and thumb prints.

  3. An African Alphabet - An African Alphabet is a vibrant ABC book that introduces babies and toddlers to the unique variety of animals found in Africa. An alphabet for all ages, the stunning linocut artwork brings an uncommon selection of critters to life in this lively concept book. From aardvark to zebra and all that's in between, little ones will love learning their alphabet with these colorful creatures.

  4. My First Animal ABC - Turn the pages from A to Z to discover this animal ABC! Turn the pages to discover the wonderful world of animals while learning ABCs! In My First Animal ABC by award-winning illustrator Maurice Pledger, kids are introduced to animals from all over the world with letters that start from A to Z. Fold-out pages are included on every page, allowing for even more exploration and discovery. After reaching the letter Z, kids can pin up the included poster for even more animal ABC fun!

Want to see even more books about animals and alphabet (abc's)?

How about books about alphabet (abc's)?

Books About Counting & Animals

Can't Sleep Without Sheep book
#1
Can't Sleep Without Sheep
Written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

After you read this adorable bedtime book, you definitely will not take counting sheep for granted! Super cute premise, adorable illustrations and a great lesson to be appreciative of those helping you, be they real or imaginary. This book also gets points from me for having a diverse main character .

Whenever Ava can't sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it's the sheep that are growing tired-until finally, they quit! When the sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, chaos ensues as chickens, cows, pigs, hippos, and more try their hand at jumping over Ava's fence. Finding the perfectly peaceful replacement for sheep might not be so easy after all. With irresistibly adorable art, this delightful take on a familiar sleep tactic is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

Animal Numbers book
#2
Animal Numbers
Written and illustrated by Thomas Flintham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-4
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book is beautiful, I love the cute, colorful illustrations! This rhyming book introduces little ones to new animals while learning to count to ten. I love the ending where all of the animals meet up and are playing a game!

Join Thomas Flintham on a vibrantly colorful animal adventure that will have the littlest readers counting from one to ten. This friendly whale is number one. He leaps up high, and then he's gone. Four elephants stomp in a row, Marching high and marching low! Filled with bright colors and eye-catching artwork, the critters in Animal Numbers are running, swimming, splashing, dashing, and counting up a storm!

1, 2, 3 Sea Creatures book
#3
1, 2, 3 Sea Creatures
Written and illustrated by Toko Hosoya
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book has you count in a few different ways! It also has a lot of different sea creatures and helps you learn their names. I like that it isn't just a normal counting book, it mixes things up a little and also is a little more interactive as it has you look for different creatures and try to remember their names. :) The illustrations are cute and I love all of the fun colors!

Beautiful, hand-drawn illustrations of sea creatures help teach the 1,2,3s in a fun and unforgettable way. This charming picture book is sure to engage early learners in counting and picture recognition skills until the very last page! The book also comes with a poster displaying the silly sea creatures matched with their corresponding numbers!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Chomp Goes the Alligator - From #1 New York Times bestselling novelty book creator Matt Van Fleet comes an irresistible picture book about a very hungry alligator who likes to chomp, chomp, chomp, which will delight readers as they learn animal names, colors, and counting. Along came the alligator, chomp, chomp, chomp! From the internationally bestselling children’s book creator Matthew Van Fleet comes the story of a hungry little alligator who gulps his way from one to ten. Ten touchable textures, a sturdy chomping pull tab, and a grand finale pop-up are sure to engage the youngest readers.

  2. Great Kiwi 123 Book - Here is a counting book like you’ve never seen, featuring Donovan Bixley’s most popular characters from his uniquely Kiwi Wheels on the Bus and Old MacDonald’s Farm. Look out for the milkshake-making cow, the All Black lambs, the cute pink ski-bunny, and the colossal squid and many more of Donovan’s vibrant, amusing illustrations. Fun for the kids—and fun for the adults!

  3. We All Went on Safari - Follows a Tanzanian family through the African grasslands as they count the animals they see, from one leopard to 10 elephants, and includes information about Tanzania and Swahili names and numbers. Reprint.

  4. 5 Wild Numbers - Learn the numbers 1-5 whilst discovering the world of animals and their habitats with this innovative, tactile board book. With unique sliding circular discs on each page, children can count the animals and trace their fingers over the numbers. Clever paper engineering combined with stylish repeating patterns make this a fun interactive reading experience and the perfect first introduction to numbers and animals.

Want to see even more books about animals and counting?

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Books About Mice & Animals

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear book
#1
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Written and illustrated by Don Wood, Audrey Wood
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6
Thoughts from Grammy

I have long loved this book and read it literally hundreds of times. The likable Little Mouse, loaded with personality, expends great effort and imagination to protect the strawberry from the thieving bear. Use of varying font sizes cues the reader and adds to the drama and suspense as do the delightful illustrations. There is one illustration in particular, where the mouse is desperately tugging on the stem of the strawberry, in which the manner of illustrating--visual vibrations-- communicate perfectly the mouse's actions. With plenty of suspense and humor along the way, this story has a satisfying ending, although it does leave one wondering just who has been speaking to the mouse.

Little Mouse worries that the big, hungry bear will take his freshly picked, ripe, red strawberry for himself.

Stuart Little book
#2
Stuart Little
Written and illustrated by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A hardcover edition of this treasured story, for which Garth Williams's original black-and-white line drawings for the jacket of Stuart Little have been colorized by the celebrated illustrator Rosemary Wells. Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he's shy and thoughtful, he's also a true lover of adventure. Stuart's greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?

The Gruffalo book
#3
The Gruffalo
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents . . . the gruffalo! As Mouse explains, the gruffalo is a creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. But Mouse has no worry to show. After all, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo. . . .

Honorable Mentions
  1. A Mouse Called Julian - Julian is a mouse who is perfectly happy avoiding other animals. They seem to just get in the way, and sometimes even try to eat him! But one day, Julian has an unexpected dinner guest... When the fox tries to sneak into Julian's burrow for a tasty bite of mouse, it finds itself stuck headfirst in Julian's front door! At first alarmed and wary, they soon find themselves having a lovely dinner together, and it's not long before each realizes that they have found in the other a lifelong friend.

  2. Crunch! - Crunch the guinea pig loves his food, so it’s just as well there’s plenty of it, especially when a hungry little mouse wants a share.So why does Crunch refuse?Later, Crunch can’t settle to his feast for worrying about the mouse. Although he’s never stepped outside his hutch before, Crunch sets off to look for him. Will he find the little mouse, and if so, what else might he discover?

  3. The Long Way Home - Henry Whiskers and his cousin, Jeremy, must find their way back home—Queen Mary’s dollhouse—and to Windsor Castle with the help of a mysterious treasure map in this fun, fast-paced follow up to The Adventures of Henry Whiskers. Little Henry Whiskers is thrilled when he discovers an old, crinkly map, complete with a giant X marking a spot, full of treasure—at least, that’s what Henry thinks. All he knows is that this map is something BIG—he can feel it right down to the tip of his tail. But before he can share his exciting find with his cousin and best friend, Jeremy, they find themselves in the danger zone: The Windsor Castle Kitchen. And after being unceremoniously caught and thrown out of the castle, with nothing but the map, the two little mice realize they have bigger problems than being caught in the kitchen! How will they get back to the dollhouse? With the help of his cousin, Jeremy and a fellow field mouse named Wisely, the cousins battle a hungry falcon, an endless and stormy lake, and the maze of landmarks on the Windsor Castle Grounds as they try to find his way back home—and discover the mysterious map is more connected to the Whiskers family than either of them could have ever imagined.

  4. Madeline Loves Animals - This charming, rhyming board book is just right for Madeline’s youngest fans. Each spread features Madeline with a different animal friend: brushing her teeth with an adorable mouse (with whom she shares her house), scattering breadcrumbs everywhere for the birds in the square, stopping to greet the cats on the street, and more. John Bemelmans Marciano, grandson of Madeline’s creator, Ludwig Bemelmans, shares his grandfather’s flair for lively verse and vivid artwork.

Want to see even more books about animals and mice?

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Books About Diversity & Animals

Eyes book
#1
Eyes
Written by Michael E. Smith
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This was my son's favorite book for about a year and when this book accidentally got left in the rental car (since we NEEDED to take it on vacation!) we replaced it. It's a wonderfully unique take on the classic animal book just looking at an animals eyes. The typography is gorgeous and the illustrations wonderfully modern and stylized. I'm not sure if it would capture the attention of a toddler as much just reading the animal name, but when my son and I read this together we make each animal sound (including chest pounding for the gorilla page) and it makes it a wonderfully interactive reading experience.

Did you know animal eyes come in all shapes, sizes, and colors? Read this picture book to your kids and explore the uniqueness of eyes.

Can't Sleep Without Sheep book
#2
Can't Sleep Without Sheep
Written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

After you read this adorable bedtime book, you definitely will not take counting sheep for granted! Super cute premise, adorable illustrations and a great lesson to be appreciative of those helping you, be they real or imaginary. This book also gets points from me for having a diverse main character .

Whenever Ava can't sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it's the sheep that are growing tired-until finally, they quit! When the sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, chaos ensues as chickens, cows, pigs, hippos, and more try their hand at jumping over Ava's fence. Finding the perfectly peaceful replacement for sheep might not be so easy after all. With irresistibly adorable art, this delightful take on a familiar sleep tactic is sure to become a bedtime favorite.

Not Quite Black and White Board Book book
#3
Not Quite Black and White Board Book
Written by Jonathan Ying and illustrated by Victoria Ying
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Silly animals star in this lively board book that introduces colors in a unique and catchy way. Have you ever seen a zebra wearing pink polka dots? Or a penguin with bright yellow boots? Brother and sister team Jonathan and Victoria Ying present these surprisingly colorful animals and more in this clever celebration of colors.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Hello Hello - A new picture book from Brendan Wenzel, the New York Times bestselling and Caldecott Honor-winning author of They All Saw a Cat! Hello, Hello! Beginning with two cats, one black and one white, a chain of animals appears before the reader, linked together by at least one common trait. From simple colors and shapes to more complex and abstract associations, each unexpected encounter celebrates the magnificent diversity of our world—and ultimately paints a story of connection. Brendan Wenzel's joyous, rhythmic text and exuberant art encourage readers to delight in nature's infinite differences and to look for—and marvel at—its gorgeous similarities. It all starts with a simple "Hello." The book includes: • An afterword from author Brendan Wenzel about the importance of conservation and protecting the wildlife on our planet. • A glossary of the animals featured in the book and a notation on their status (Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, or Critically Endangered).

  2. Fur, Feather, Fin—All of Us Are Kin - There are so many wild and wonderful animals in our world. Some have fur, some have feathers, some have fins, but all are connected. This fact-filled rhyming exploration of the diversity of the animal kingdom celebrates mammals, birds, insects, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and more! It’s a perfect match for budding naturalists and animal enthusiasts everywhere.

  3. My New Friend - Can a kitten and a parrot be friends? Meet some cute—and unlikely—animal pals! Friends come in all diferent shapes, sizes, and colors, and these animals are learning to befriend creatures that don’t quite look like them. With adorable photographs and clever, humorous text, this book helps children learn to embrace diversity.

Want to see even more books about animals and diversity?

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Books About Making Friends & Animals

The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! book
#1
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
Written and illustrated by Rob Biddulph
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This is one of my very favorite recent books. I love the illustrations, I'm an absolute sucker for a great rhyme scheme and the message is phenomenal: friends matter more than winning.

From the award-winning author and illustrator of Blown Away, Rob Biddulph, comes a delightfully hilarious story about a grizzly bear named Fred who loses his GRRRRR. Each year, for as long as the forest has stood, a contest is held for the bears of the wood… Fred is the champion. He’s the best. But being the best takes time and training, especially when it comes to having the loudest growl. Then, one morning, disaster strikes—Fred’s GRRRRR is gone! Oh, no! Will Fred find his GRRRRR and realize that there’s more to life than being a winner?

Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1! book
#2
Animal Inn 3-Books-in-1!
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The first three novels in the Animal Inn chapter book series, where the fur—and fun—flies at an animal spa and hotel, are now available together in a fur-tastic paperback edition! The Animal Inn is an all-inclusive pet resort and spa for animals from dogs to rabbits, cats to ducks, parrots to lizards. From doggie and kitty daycare, to grooming, and group play—you name it, and the Animal Inn has it. The Inn is run by the Tyler family along with their pets Leopold, the Macaw; Fuzzy and Furry, the gerbils; dogs Dash and Coco; felines Shadow and Whiskers; and a rollicking horde of animal visitors. In A Furry Fiasco, when the animals hear that a new boarder—a Komodo Dragon—will be coming to the Inn, they panic! Will it gobble them all up and then devour their family? In Treasure Hunt, the animals are convinced a pirate with a glittering treasure is visiting the Animal Inn. Will the animals have to walk the plank in order to survive? Arghhh! And in The Bow-Wow Bus, Cassie Tyler’s first grade class takes a field trip to Animal Inn for a meet and greet. And it’s a furry good time for all—even for the newest kid in class, a goldfish named Blub.

How to Win Friends and Influence Creatures book
#3
How to Win Friends and Influence Creatures
Written and illustrated by Deborah Zemke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Presents humorous advice on maintaining friendships with animals, including not hogging a mudbath, howling along with a pack, and learning to listen to small voices.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Elwood Bigfoot - Elwood Bigfoot is big, LOUD . . . and lonely. It's hard for him to make friends especially with the tiny birdies whose chirps and cheerful songs help him feel less alone. But whenever a hopeful Elwood hollers at a birdie to STAY, the scared creature flies away. Will Elwood "ever" find a way to befriend the birdies?"

  2. Bikes for Sale - Maurice rides his bike to his shop every day. Lotta rides her bike to collect sticks every day. Both go about their separate routines, unaware of the friendship that awaits them just a few blocks away. But what happens when a branch and a lemon peel get in the way? This delightful falling-in-like story from acclaimed picture book creators Carter Higgins and Zachariah OHora celebrates the power of coincidence to lead us to the friends we're meant to meet all along.

  3. Mr. Duck Means Business - Mr. Duck enjoys a quiet morning routine on his private pond every day until other animals mistakenly think he has invited them to join him, in a simple tale that illustrates the importance of friendship.

  4. Friends - A girl from a faraway place begins her first day at school. She doesn’t speak the language and she looks different. She just doesn't fit in. But one day, she makes an unexpected friend—a squirrel! Then a rabbit joins them. Soon the girl’s fuzzy woodland friends are followed by human ones and school becomes more fun! When a surprising new student joins the class, the girl and her new friends know just how to make him feel at home.

Want to see even more books about animals and making friends?

How about books about making friends?

Books About Being Yourself & Animals

The Trumpet of the Swan book
#1
The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This story is a delightful read with a swan who believes he can do anything, and he does. I loved following along in his adventures and seeing how he dedicates himself. His friend, Sam, was also one of my favorite parts of the book. Louis never quits--which is what allows him to find his best friend, Sam, his true love, Serena, and his many talents, including his trumpeting. Louis learns to make his weakness (being mute) a strength (learning how to play the trumpet) and never thinks he can't do anything just because he's a swan--he even learns to read and write!

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can't trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can't even make a sound. And since he can't trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena's affection--he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

Tacky the Penguin book
#2
Tacky the Penguin
Written by Helen Lester and illustrated by Lynn Munsinger
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Tacky's perfect friends find him annoying until his odd behavior saves the day.

Not Quite Black and White Board Book book
#3
Not Quite Black and White Board Book
Written by Jonathan Ying and illustrated by Victoria Ying
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

Silly animals star in this lively board book that introduces colors in a unique and catchy way. Have you ever seen a zebra wearing pink polka dots? Or a penguin with bright yellow boots? Brother and sister team Jonathan and Victoria Ying present these surprisingly colorful animals and more in this clever celebration of colors.

Honorable Mentions
  1. But Not the Armadillo - For more than thirty-five years, readers have wondered what happens to the mystery armadillo on the last page of Sandra Boynton’s classic board book, But Not the Hippopotamus. Now, at last, comes the long-awaited sequel. Behold the armadillo, a cute and curious creature who follows his nose wherever it goes. Join him as he quietly travels the less-traveled road: he picks cranberries, stops and smells the flowers, takes a nap in the meadow, searches out the source of a beautiful melody, and at day’s end passes an overeager hippo sprinting the other direction. Told with Boynton’s signature charm and unpredictability, But Not the Armadillo is a gentle and worthy companion book to But Not the Hippopotamus—perfect for curious little kids and grown-ups alike. And for everyone who has ever been concerned about the armadillo: Don’t worry. He’s completely fine just the way he is.

  2. You Should, You Should! - Hippo's morning starts off good, until friends say, “You should! You should!” You should prance! You should sing! Wear this hat! Stretch your wing! Though Hippo wants to be a friend, he wonders when the “shoulds” will end. Hippo and friends will soon find out that being yourself is what life's about.

  3. Carl and the Meaning of Life - From the often Caldecott-buzzed Deborah Freedman, a sweet and funny story about finding your place in the world. Carl is an earthworm. He spends his days happily tunneling in the soil until a field mouse asks him a simple question that stops him short: "Why?" Carl's quest takes him on an adventure to meet all the animals of the forest, each of whom seems to know exactly what they were put on this earth to do, unlike the curious Carl. But it's not until the world around him has changed that Carl begins to realize everyone, no matter how small, makes a big difference just by being themselves.

  4. Hippopotamister - The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He's a good employee, whether he's a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

Want to see even more books about animals and being yourself?

How about books about being yourself?