Best Kids Books About Animals

The Best 58 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.

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?

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

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.

Blue Chicken book
#3
Blue Chicken
Written and illustrated by Deborah Freedman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from Grammy

This book is one beautiful image after another combined with deceptively spare text. Loaded with barnyard fun, it is a delight to read, exploring every page for the action and antics of the animals.

An enterprising chicken attempts to help an artist paint the barnyard and accidentally turns the whole picture blue.

Can't Sleep Without Sheep book
#4
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
#5
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!

Ribbit! book
#6
Ribbit!
Written by Rodrigo Folgueira and illustrated by Poly Bernatene
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

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.

Chimpanzees for Tea! book
#7
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.

Cuckoo! book
#8
Cuckoo!
Written and illustrated by Fiona Roberton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

The illustrations in this book are amazing and delightful! This sweet story about a bird that speaks differently and goes on an adventure to find someone he can understand, tries to learn other's languages, and finally finds someone he can talk to is fun and entertaining, and this book is so fun to read aloud with all of the "cuckoos" and other animal noises!

Cuckoo hatches. And all is well. But when his brothers and sisters sing out Too-too-weet! Too-too-weet! Cuckoo instead chirps Cuckoo! and no one can understand him. When he leaves his nest, Cuckoo still can’t find anyone who speaks his language. He tries to communicate with the other animals—coomooing and buckooing and cabooing along the way—but he doesn’t sound like anyone else out there! Just when he thinks all is lost, Cuckoo finds an unlikely friend who understands him perfectly.

Grumpy Monkey book
#9
Grumpy Monkey
Written by Suzanne Lang and illustrated by Max Lang
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A hilarious picture book about dealing with unexplained feelings…and the danger in suppressing them! Jim the chimpanzee is in a terrible mood for no good reason. His friends can’t understand it—how can he be in a bad mood when it’s SUCH a beautiful day? They encourage him not to hunch, to smile, and to do things that make THEM happy. But Jim can’t take all the advice…and has a BIT of a meltdown. Could it be that he just needs a day to feel grumpy? Suzanne and Max Lang bring hilarity and levity to this very important lesson. This picture book is an excellent case study in the dangers of putting on a happy face and demonstrates to kids that they are allowed to feel their feelings (though they should be careful of hurting others in the process!).

1, 2, 3 Sea Creatures book
#10
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!

Alphabet Kingdom book
#11
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.

I've Loved You Since Forever book
#12
I've Loved You Since Forever
Written by Hoda Kotb and illustrated by Suzie Mason
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Lyrical text and illustrations of baby animals and their mothers show the love of a parent.

Over and Under the Pond book
#13
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.

The Giraffe That Walked to Paris book
#14
The Giraffe That Walked to Paris
Written by Nancy Milton and illustrated by Roger Roth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Retells the true story of how the first giraffe ever to come to Europe was sent by the Pasha of Egypt to the King of France in 1826, and the giraffe walked from the disembarkation point of Marseilles to Paris to see the King.

The Night Gardener book
#15
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.

Beauty and the Beast book
#16
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.

The Gruffalo book
#17
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. . . .

Time for a Bath book
#18
Time for a Bath
Written by Phillis Gershator and illustrated by David Walker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

No matter what kind of messes a little bunny experiences through the day, bath time makes things fresh and new.

The Bear Who Stared book
#19
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.

Inky's Amazing Escape book
#20
Inky's Amazing Escape
Written by Sy Montgomery and illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Learn all about Inky the Octopus, an international sensation known for escaping from the New Zealand aquarium in April 2016, in this adorable picture book from National Book Award nominee and octopus lover Sy Montgomery. Inky had been at the New Zealand aquarium since 2014 after being taken in by a fisherman who found him at sea. Inky had been getting used to his new environment, but the staff quickly figured out that he had to be kept amused or he would get bored. Then one night in 2016 Inky, about the size of a basketball, decided he’d had enough. He slithered eight feet across the floor and down a drainpipe more than 160 feet long to his home in the sea. Acclaimed author Sy Montogmery reminds readers that Inky didn’t escape—but instead, like the curious animal he is, wanted to explore the rest of the vast ocean he called his home.

There Are No Bears in This Bakery book
#21
There Are No Bears in This Bakery
Written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Henry's Bright Idea book
#22
Henry's Bright Idea
Written by Lauren Bradshaw and illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Me . . . Jane book
#23
Me . . . Jane
Written and illustrated by Patrick McDonnell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In his characteristic heartwarming style, Patrick McDonnell tells the story of the young Jane Goodall and her special childhood toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. As the young Jane observes the natural world around her with wonder, she dreams of "a life living with and helping all animals," until one day she finds that her dream has come true. One of the world's most inspiring women, Dr. Jane Goodall is a renowned humanitarian, conservationist, animal activist, environmentalist, and United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 1977 she founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI), a global nonprofit organization that empowers people to make a difference for all living things. With anecdotes taken directly from Jane Goodall's autobiography, McDonnell makes this very true story accessible for the very young--and young at heart.

Animobiles book
#24
Animobiles
Written and illustrated by Maddie Frost
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Some vehicles go VROOM! Some animals say ROAR! Put them both together and find out what's in store Imagine a different kind of hybrid on wheels: animalvehicle! The subway-snake slithers for commuters, the cowcars stop to graze in the field, the bear-bus scoots to the den for hibernation. What could be better than a mash-up of two of the best things: animals and things that go vroom!

Zoo Day book
#25
Zoo Day
Written by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

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