An award-winning book club for kids
Shop Now

Apes And Monkeys: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about apes and monkeys?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to apes and monkeys. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about apes and monkeys.

Our list includes picture books and chapter books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. The chapter books on our list are generally best for elementary through early middle school age tween kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about apes and monkeys, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Doctor Dolittle’s Zoo to popular sellers like Gorilla.

We hope this list of kids books about apes and monkeys can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Cuddle Monkey book
#1
Cuddle Monkey
Written by Blake Liliane Hellman and illustrated by Chad Otis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little monkey looks for the perfect cuddle while his parents are busy with his new baby brother in this insanely adorable picture book about learning to be an older sibling.

Lewis loves to cuddle. But ever since his baby brother Owen was born, cuddle time with his mom and dad has been in short supply. Lewis, however, remains undaunted! He wants his cuddles! So:

He cuddles his favorite book. He cuddles his stuffed animals, Hedwig, Lamby, and Monster Dude. He even cuddles a puddle, just because it rhymes!

But cuddling the bus driver turns out to be a little dangerous. Cuddling at dinner is too messy. And cuddling Owen is wiggly and squiggly. Then Lewis finds that a cuddle doesn’t have to be perfect for it to be just the cuddle you need.

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla book
#2
Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla
Written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Mr. G. Brian Karas
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

In a spare, powerful text and evocative illustrations, the Newbery medalist Katherine Applegate and the artist G. Brian Karas present the extraordinary real story of a special gorilla. Captured as a baby, Ivan was brought to a Tacoma, Washington, mall to attract shoppers. Gradually, public pressure built until a better way of life for Ivan was found at Zoo Atlanta. From the Congo to America, and from a local business attraction to a national symbol of animal welfare, Ivan the Shopping Mall Gorilla traveled an astonishing distance in miles and in impact. This is his true story and includes photographs of Ivan in the back matter.

Mr Big book
#3
Mr Big
Written and illustrated by Ed Vere
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Mr Big is strong, Mr Big is tough, Mr Big is . . . well . . . BIG! He has just one small problem - because of the way he looks he just can’t get people to stick around. How can he show them that although he may look a little scary, he is just a great big softy inside? With his trademark bold color and masterful graphic simplicity, Ed Vere sensitively and humorously tackles the universal and current subject of inclusion, reminding the reader that to get to know someone you need to look beyond their exterior. This is the third picture book from an exciting new talent, whose previous titles The Getaway and Banana have received great critical acclaim.

Cloud Tea Monkeys book
#4
Cloud Tea Monkeys
Written by Elspeth Graham and Mal Peet and illustrated by Juan Wijngaard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Carnegie Medalist Mal Peet and his wife, Elspeth Graham, team up for a captivating, lushly illustrated tale evoking a Chinese legend. (Age 4 and up) A Junior Library Guild Selection Tashi lives in a tiny village at the foot of the mountains, below the tea plantations where her mother works. When her mother falls ill, Tashi goes alone to the plantation, hoping to earn money for the doctor. But she is far too small to harvest the tender shoots, and her clumsy efforts anger the cruel Overseer. She is desolate, until — chack-chack-chack! — something extraordinary happens. Inspired by a centuries-old legend of tea-picking monkeys, here is a richly told tale full of vivid characters: the heartless Overseer, the enigmatic Royal Tea Taster, and — far away — an empress with a penchant for tea.

Gorilla book
#5
Gorilla
Written and illustrated by Anthony Browne
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Celebrate thirty years of a classic picture book by one of today’s most celebrated author-illustrators! A special anniversary edition. Hannah loves gorillas and longs to see a real one. Unfortunately, her father is always too busy — or too tired — to take her to the zoo. But on the night before her birthday, something extraordinary happens and Hannah’s wish finally comes true. Anthony Browne’s classic story of a girl’s moonlit night of adventure, courtesy of a surprising and kindly friend, returns in a larger trim size with striking cover art by the artist for the book’s thirtieth anniversary.

  1. Ninita's Big World - “The heart-tugging true story of how YouTube star Ninita—a deaf, orphaned pygmy marmoset (the smallest type of monkey)—found family, friendship, and a forever home! Illustrated in full color. Ninita is the only known deaf pygmy marmoset in the world, but that doesn’t stop her from making friends and chasing her next adventure! Abandoned by her parents and rescued by the RSCF, this tiny, curious monkey loves exploring her habitat. And when she meets Mr. Big—another pygmy marmoset—she has finally found a friend who likes to eat, climb, and play as much as she does. A YouTube celebrity, Ninita’s videos have been viewed nearly 2 million times! “

  2. The Park in the Dark - A hugely endearing picture book from the makers of the Big Bear and Little Bear series. When the sun goes down and the moon comes up, the toy monkey and his friends, Loopy the elephant and Little Gee the dog, creep softly out of the bedroom, down the stairs and through the dark hall on their way to the deserted park. The park’s an exciting place to be after dark, though a little bit scary - especially when the Thing (a night train) hurtles out of the darkness, seeming to chase them. Then the three friends run all the way home and jump back into bed, safe and sound once more. Now a classic story, The Park in the Dark won the 1989 Kurt Maschler Award and has now been reissued to appeal to a new generation of young children.

  3. Willy the Wimp (Willy the Chimp) - Willy the Wimp. Willy wouldn’t hurt a fly - he even apologizes when someone hits him. The suburban gorillas call him Willy the Wimp. Then, one day, Willy answers a body-building advert … with hilarious results! Celebrate 30 years of the classic picture book in this special anniversary edition by multiple-award-winner Anthony Browne.

  4. Owls are Good at Keeping Secrets: An Unusual Alphabet - A delightful book of curious, little-known “facts” about animals—one for each letter of the alphabet! Did you know that chipmunks love to stay up past their bedtime? Or that dragons cry at happy endings? I bet you’d never have guessed that iguanas sometimes get homesick at sleepovers. Sara O’Leary pulls back the curtain on the animal world and gives us an absolutely charming little one-line “fact” about one animal for each letter of the alphabet. Kids will love to see their own quirks reflected in these adorably rendered creatures, and perhaps will be comforted to know that—just like them—narwhals can be perfectly happy all on their own and quail also get tired of being told to be quiet. This is more than just an alphabet book. It’s a charming, hilarious, and touching look at the diversity of personalities in the world—worth many, many rereads.

Doctor Dolittle's Zoo book
#10
Doctor Dolittle's Zoo
Written and illustrated by Hugh Lofting
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Doctor Dolittle’s Zoo is an animal home, not a prison, and the animals come and go as they please. But a visitor to the Rat and Mouse Club reveals a mystery at nearby Moorsden Manor, which Tommy Stubbins and the animals are determined to solve.

Quick, Little Monkey! book
#11
Quick, Little Monkey!
Written by Sarah L. Thomson and illustrated by Lita Judge
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

When Little Monkey’s curiosity causes her to slip and fall to the dark, shadowy rainforest floor, she must hide—quick!—because an ocelot is looking for lunch. Thanks to Papa, Little Monkey knows just what to do to stay safe. And thanks to her own wit and speed, she escapes. But no sooner is she safe from the ocelot than she finds herself wrapped in the coils of an emerald tree boa. This exciting adventure will enthrall readers as Little Monkey faces one challenge after another and will also teach them about the fascinating lives of pygmy marmoset monkeys, the smallest monkeys in the world.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!