Best Children's Books About Animals

84+ Children's Books About Animals

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Sloth Slept on book
#26
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!

Over and Under the Pond book
#27
Over and Under the Pond
Written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

In this gorgeous companion to the acclaimed Over and Under the Snow and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal bring to life a secret underwater world. In this book, readers will discover the plants and animals that make up the rich, interconnected ecosystem of a mountain pond. Over the pond, the water is a mirror, reflecting the sky. But under the pond is a hidden world of minnows darting, beavers diving, tadpoles growing. These and many other secrets are waiting to be discovered...over and under the pond.

Can't Sleep Without Sheep book
#28
Can't Sleep Without Sheep
Written by Susanna Leonard Hill and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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.

The Night Gardener book
#29
The Night Gardener
Written and illustrated by Eric Fan, Terry Fan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Everyone on Grimloch Lane enjoys the trees and shrubs clipped into animal masterpieces after dark by the Night Gardener, but William, a lonely boy, spots the artist, follows him, and helps with his special work.

My Pet Giraffe book
#30
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!

Simon Says Moo Like a Cow book
#31
Simon Says Moo Like a Cow
Written and illustrated by Sarah Vince
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Invites readers to make various animal sounds, including those made by pigs, cows, and horses. On board pages.

Animal Numbers book
#32
Animal Numbers
Written and illustrated by Thomas Flintham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

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!

Who Wears What? book
#33
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.

Little Alphaprints: Animals book
#34
Little Alphaprints: Animals
Written and illustrated by Roger Priddy
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

This charming board book with fantastic fingerprint pictures of amazing animals will captivate and delight even the youngest of children. Brightly colored fingerprints are turned into a parade of animals by adding photographs of fun, everyday things for children to spot. Each animal has raised embossing for little fingers to reach out for and explore, creating a visual and tactile experience that children will want to repeat over and over again.

Arf! Buzz! Cluck! A Rather Noisy Alphabet book
#35
Arf! Buzz! Cluck! A Rather Noisy Alphabet
Written by Eric Seltzer and illustrated by David Creighton-Pester
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

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!

Beauty and the Beast book
#36
Beauty and the Beast
Written and illustrated by Jan Brett
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Originally published in 1989, this luminous reissue of an all-time favorite fairy tale will attract an even wider audience with its romantic new jacket and a shortened text. Exquisite illustrations of Beauty and her mysterious suitor, the Beast, are set in a magical castle where animals dressed in period costumes serve them. Woven into glorious tapestries throughout are hidden clues hinting at the Beast’s secrets, setting Brett’s version apart from others.

If Animals Kissed Good Night book
#37
If Animals Kissed Good Night
Written by Ann Whitford Paul and illustrated by David Walker
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Rhyming text explores what would happen if animals kissed like humans do, from a slow kiss between a sloth and her cub to a mud-happy kiss from a hippo calf to his father.

Chimpanzees for Tea! book
#38
Chimpanzees for Tea!
Written and illustrated by Jo Empson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A silly, fun version of the game “telephone”—in which a grocery list committed to memory goes playfully awry. One day, Vincent’s mother asks him to go to the store to pick up a few items: “a bunch of carrots, a box of rice, some China tea, a big, firm pear, and a tin of peas” to be precise. “And hurry home in time for tea!” she says. Sounds easy enough. Yet distractions are at every turn, causing havoc with Vincent’s memory. All of a sudden, a tin of peas is replaced by a trapeze; a big, firm pear becomes a big furry bear; and a box of rice transforms into a box of mice! Needless to say, Vincent’s mother is in for quite a surprise. Told with a playful rhythm for reading aloud and illustrated with exuberance and great child appeal, this humorous picture book will have kids laughing and asking for repeated readings.

Orange Pear Apple Bear book
#39
Orange Pear Apple Bear
Written and illustrated by Emily Gravett
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Destined to become a contemporary classic, this book has spare text and sweet illustrations but contains only five words: apple, pear, orange, bear--and there. Emily Gravett creates clever variations on this theme by rearranging the words--on one spread, a brown bear juggles an orange, apple, and pear; on another spread, there is an orange-colored apple and a pear-shaped bear. Simple and compelling, children will enjoy reading this book over and over again as they learn many different concepts.

Not Quite Black and White Board Book book
#40
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.

Hungry Little Lizard book
#41
Hungry Little Lizard
Written and illustrated by Kate Stone
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

SLURP! How many bugs did Hungry Little Lizard catch this time? Pull and Peek to find out! Hungry Little Lizard can’t get enough of those bugs! This unique board book allows kids to open Lizard’s mouth and count how many bugs he’s caught on each page. It’s a fun and silly way for kids to begin counting and practice fine motor skills.

Alphabet Kingdom book
#42
Alphabet Kingdom
Written and illustrated by Starla Michelle Halfmann
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

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.

1, 2, 3 Sea Creatures book
#43
1, 2, 3 Sea Creatures
Written and illustrated by Toko Hosoya
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-5

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!

Who's at Home? book
#44
Who's at Home?
Written by Jane E. Gerver and illustrated by Kathryn Lynn Davis
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Woodland animals play a guessing game with the little ones in this interactive board book! Each spread poses a riddle to young readers: "Who's at home?" Children will love lifting the flaps to reveal a furry bear, a wide-eyed owl, a cheery squirrel, a dozing beaver, and a cuddly rabbit all snuggled up in their homes.

Big Hugs, Little Hugs book
#45
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.

So Light, So Heavy book
#46
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.

Animal Noises book
#47
Animal Noises
Written and illustrated by Thomas Flintham
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

A brand-new board book that explores animal sounds from morning until night in the bold and vibrantly colorful world of artist Thomas Flintham. The chickens wake from the farm each day, “CLUCK, CLUCK, CLUCK,” the chickens say. At breakfast time, the cows all chew, In the meadow, “MOO, MOO, MOO.” It’s a very noisy day on the farm, until bedtime comes and the farmyard is quiet. With sturdy pages, a simple, engaging story, and graphic bold artwork, this animal sounds book is perfect for little ones.

The Bear Who Stared book
#48
The Bear Who Stared
Written and illustrated by Duncan Beedie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

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.

Good Night, Gorilla book
#49
Good Night, Gorilla
Written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

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.

Let's Dance, Little Pookie book
#50
Let's Dance, Little Pookie
Written and illustrated by Sandra Boynton
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

Let’s do the Pookie Shimmy (Oh, yeah!) in this toe-tapping board book from the beloved and bestselling Sandra Boynton. Say hey, Little Pookie! You’re a wonder to see. Come on, my little Pookie, Won’t you dance with me? Are you ready to do the piggy-piggy shake? Then put on your snazzy sneakers and join the dance party as Little Pookie boogies to a Pookie-Pookie beat. With Sandra Boynton’s signature charm and piggy pizzazz, this fabulous story proves that every Little Pookie loves to shimmy!

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