Best Children's Books About Animals

84+ Children's Books About Animals

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
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

"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."

Eyes book
#2
Eyes
Written by Michael E. Smith
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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.

Wiggle! book
#3
Wiggle!
Written and illustrated by Taro Gomi
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

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!

Flamingos Fly book
#4
Flamingos Fly
Written by Douglas Florian and illustrated by Barbara Bakos
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

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.

The Nice Book book
#5
The Nice Book
Written and illustrated by David Stein
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A perfect introduction to manners and playing nice, by David Ezra Stein—author of Caldecott Honor winner Interrupting Chicken, Pouch! (a Charlotte Zolotow Honor book) and Leaves (recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award). From cuddling koalas to friendly penguins, an array of animals illustrates fun, sweet, and silly examples of “how to be nice,” showing simple ways young children can show they care for those around them. The lyrical text, funny illustrations and upbeat friendship message make this a great gift and a wonderful introduction to manners.

This Little Hamster book
#6
This Little Hamster
Written and illustrated by Kass Reich
board book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

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.

My Backpack! book
#7
My Backpack!
Written by Scholastic and illustrated by Weldon Swanson
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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!

When Your Llama Needs a Haircut book
#8
When Your Llama Needs a Haircut
Written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

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!

Sunrise, Moonrise book
#9
Sunrise, Moonrise
Written and illustrated by Betsy Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

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.

Jane Foster's ABC book
#10
Jane Foster's ABC
Written and illustrated by Jane Foster
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

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.

Bears Are Big book
#11
Bears Are Big
Written by Douglas Florian and illustrated by Barbara Bakos
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

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.

Hide and Seek book
#12
Hide and Seek
Written and illustrated by Taro Gomi
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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!

My Love is For You book
#13
My Love is For You
Written by Susan Musgrave and illustrated by Marilyn Faucher
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

A beautiful board book that weaves the purity, strength and endlessness of love with simple joys of nature.

Mommy's Best Kisses book
#14
Mommy's Best Kisses
Written by Margaret Anastas and illustrated by Susan Winter
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

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.

Alphaprints: ABC book
#15
Alphaprints: ABC
Written by Roger Priddy
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Indentifies the letters of the alphabet using illustrations of animals representing each letter, comprised of finger and thumb prints.

Little Friends: Big and Small book
#16
Little Friends: Big and Small
Written and illustrated by Roger Priddy, Natalie Munday, Barbi Sido, Amy A. Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

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.

Lion's Lullaby book
#17
Lion's Lullaby
Written by Mij Kelly and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

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.

Hugs and Kisses book
#18
Hugs and Kisses
Written and illustrated by Judi Abbot
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

From the bestselling illustrator of The Perfect Hug and The Biggest Kiss, comes an adorable board book full of hugs and kisses! This sweet board book features the same cast of adorable animals from The Biggest Kiss and The Perfect Hug by bestselling illustrator Judi Abbot. Only this time, all the friends are in a brand-new story that proves everyone needs hugs AND kisses!

Hatch book
#19
Hatch
Written and illustrated by Heather Brown
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

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.

All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep book
#20
All the Awake Animals Are Almost Asleep
Written by Crescent Dragonwagon and illustrated by David McPhail
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

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.

Sloth Slept on book
#21
Sloth Slept on
Written and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Who's that sleeping in our tree? When a group of kids finds an animal happily napping in their backyard, they set out to discover what it is and where it belongs. As they search and search--never noticing the posters and articles about a sloth that's fled the zoo--they finally discover the identity of the snoozing creature. When sloth wakes up, it's in for a BIG surprise!

Big Hugs, Little Hugs book
#22
Big Hugs, Little Hugs
Written and illustrated by Felicia Bond
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A joyful board book about family love from the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie! Big or small, Furry or not, Here or there, Inside or out, Everyone hugs all over the world. With its loving, simple text and bold, beautiful artwork, this is a perfect board book for baby showers, first birthdays, or a baby’s first first holidays. And it’s not just about hugging! Little ones can learn about opposites and about animals and their habitats in this story too. Mega-selling author and artist Felicia Bond has crafted a charming book filled with animals hugging across the globe that celebrates the universality of love.

My Pet Giraffe book
#23
My Pet Giraffe
Written and illustrated by Mark Iacolina
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

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!

Who Wears What? book
#24
Who Wears What?
Written and illustrated by Kathy Ireland
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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.

So Light, So Heavy book
#25
So Light, So Heavy
Written and illustrated by Susanne Strasser
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

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.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.