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The Zoo: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about the zoo?

The Zoo is a fascinating place! To see the real life, exotic animals that you only read about in books is a one of a kind experience. Because these animals are so intriguing, reading about them before or after your trip to the zoo will be one fun adventure.

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Top 10 Books About The Zoo

#1
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Dear Zoo
Written & 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.

#2
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My Heart Is Like a Zoo
Written & illustrated by Michael Hall
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
LOVE this book! First off, it includes animals that are less commonly used in books. Second, all of the illustrations use hearts in creating their shapes! Third, the similes on each page are tender and sweet!
Thoughts from The Goodfather
While it's the creativity of the illustrations of zoo animals that really makes this a great addition to a young reader's library, the text is also smart and wraps up very well with a clever ending that ties the whole book together.
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.”

#3
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Good Night, Gorilla
Written & illustrated by Peggy Rathmann
Thoughts from Grammy
With spare text and rich illustrations, Peggy Rathman walks us through the zookeeper's bidding the animals at the zoo goodnight. There are many funny details to seek and find on each page. The clever ending contains a bit of irony; So many toddlers take a favorite stuffy to bed, why not a gorilla?
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato
What can you say about such a beloved classic? It's humorous and doesn't spell every little thing out, but provides just enough clues that my 2.5-year-old was able to piece together what was happening. As we've read it several times over, he enjoys pointing out how the gorilla is going to help the other animals from their cages.
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.

#4
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1, 2, 3 to the Zoo
Written & illustrated by Eric Carle
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Each car on the train has one more zoo animal than the one before, from the first car with an elephant to the last with ten birds.

#5
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The Way to the Zoo
Written & illustrated by John Burningham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Discovering a magical door in her bedroom that leads her to the zoo, a little girl is tempted to bring just one little bear back to her room, and then a menagerie of smaller animals, and then an irresistible medley of big animals, until pandemonium ensues.

#6
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Animal Patterns
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

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

#7
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Checkers and Dot at the Zoo
Written by J. Torres & illustrated by J. Lum
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Checkers and Dot visit the zoo, where they meet many different animals with interesting patterns.

#8
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Zoo Day
Written by Anne Rockwell & 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.

#9
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If I Ran the Zoo
Written & illustrated by Dr. Seuss
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

If Gerald McGrew ran the zoo, he’d let all the animals go and fill it with more unusual beasts—a ten-footed lion, an Elephant-Cat, a Mulligatawny, a Tufted Mazurka, and others.

#10
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The Giggly Giraffe
Written by Amelia Cobb & illustrated by Sophy Williams
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Zoe loves living at her uncle’s rescue zoo because there’s always something exciting going on. And Zoe also has an amazing secret: she can talk to the animals. A giraffe has been born. Jamie baby giraffe’s wobbly walk on his long legs makes everyone laugh, and he just loves to play tricks! But his tricks can cause trouble, and with the Best Zoo Competition coming up, can Zoe help Jamie behave and have fun?

Table of Contents
Scroll to books about The Zoo and...

Books About The Zoo and First Concepts

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Animal Patterns
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

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

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Checkers and Dot at the Zoo
Written by J. Torres & illustrated by J. Lum
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Checkers and Dot visit the zoo, where they meet many different animals with interesting patterns.

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Jungle Animals
Written & illustrated by Max and Sid
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

The Tiny Touch board books series teaches concepts to little ones in a stimulating and interactive manner! Little ones will love learning about jungle animals in this interactive board book! Embossed pages create a tactile experience for tiny hands.

Honorable Mentions
Color Zoo Board Book book
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Pitter Pattern book
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Pat the Zoo book
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Z Is for Zoo book
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  1. Color Zoo Board Book - Nine animals, nine shapes, and sixteen shades of color’everyone can have fun discovering them all by turning Color Zoo’s full-color pages and watching a lion turn into a goat, an ox into a monkey, a tiger into a mouse. . . . 1990 Caldecott Honor Book Notable Children’s Books of 1989 (ALA) 1990 Fanfare Honor List (H)

  2. Pitter Pattern - Patterns are everywhere! How many can you find? This gorgeously illustrated book from Joyce Hesselberth, the creator of the acclaimed Mapping Sam, expertly introduces readers to basic patterns in nature, music, sports, art, language, and math. Pitter Pattern is an exceptional mix of fiction and nonfiction perfect for home as well as classroom sharing. Pitter, pitter, pat! Pitter, pitter, pat! Hey, it’s a pitter, pitter, pattern! Lu and her friends love spotting patterns in their daily activities. Lu learns that patterns can be found at soccer practice, during her piano lessons, in dance class, at snack time, and even at the park! How many patterns can you spot as Lu goes about her week? Patterns are an important building block of preschool and early elementary education, and Pitter Pattern includes examples of patterns found in music, weather, time, play, shapes, nature, math, and language. The accessible and playful illustrations feature additional patterns for engaged readers to discover. An expert blend of fiction and nonfiction, this beautiful and innovative character-driven picture book is an ideal read-aloud for classrooms, family story times, and for fans of Hervé Tullet, Lois Ehlert, Steve Jenkins, and Joyce Sidman. Includes backmatter about the patterns in the book.

  3. Pat the Zoo - A fun and exciting touch-and-feel book featuring one of the best-selling children’s book characters of all time - Pat the Bunny! Pat the Bunny has been creating special first-time moments between parents and their children for over 75 years. This engaging touch-and-feel book takes babies on a playful trip to the zoo where they can pet animals like lions, pandas, turtles, and more, all the while making cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

  4. Z Is for Zoo - Introduce your toddler to the ABCs with this illustrated primer about many of the animals they’ll find in the zoo. An engaging collection of 26 illustrations featuring every child’s favorite zoo animals from around the world, from apes to zebras, all shown in their natural habitats. Illustrator Greg Paprocki’s popular BabyLit alphabet board books feature his classically retro midcentury art style that’s proven to be a hit with both toddlers and adults alike. Have fun discovering new details in each illustration with every successive reading. Greg Paprocki works full-time as an illustrator and book designer. He has illustrated several Curious George books, as well as previous books in the Little Leonardo series, the BabyLit alphabet book series, and The Big Book of Superheroes for Gibbs Smith. His Gibbs Smith titles have sold nearly 200,000 copies. Residence: Lincoln, NE.

Books About The Zoo and Social Themes

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My Heart Is Like a Zoo
Written & illustrated by Michael Hall
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
LOVE this book! First off, it includes animals that are less commonly used in books. Second, all of the illustrations use hearts in creating their shapes! Third, the similes on each page are tender and sweet!
Thoughts from The Goodfather
While it's the creativity of the illustrations of zoo animals that really makes this a great addition to a young reader's library, the text is also smart and wraps up very well with a clever ending that ties the whole book together.
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.”

Add to list
Zoo Day
Written by Anne Rockwell & 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.

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Ida, Always
Written by Caron Levis & illustrated by Charles Santoso
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A beautiful, honest portrait of loss and deep friendship told through the story of two iconic polar bears.

Gus lives in a big park in the middle of an even bigger city, and he spends his days with Ida. Ida is right there. Always.

Then one sad day, Gus learns that Ida is very sick, and she isn’t going to get better. The friends help each other face the difficult news with whispers, sniffles, cuddles, and even laughs. Slowly Gus realizes that even after Ida is gone, she will still be with him—through the sounds of their city, and the memories that live in their favorite spots.

Ida, Always is an exquisitely told story of two best friends—inspired by a real bear friendship—and a gentle, moving, needed reminder that loved ones lost will stay in our hearts, always.

Honorable Mentions
Through with the Zoo book
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The Mixed-Up Chameleon book
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Tortoise And The Scare book
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The Rhino in Right Field book
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  1. Through with the Zoo - Goat has always dreamed of having his very own space. But Goat lives in a petting zoo, surrounded by hugs and rubs and grabby little hands. Determined to find his perfect alone space, Goat escapes into the big zoo. But space is not an easy thing to find, in this humorous picture book from Jacob Grant, Through with the Zoo.

  2. The Mixed-Up Chameleon - There once was a small green chameleon that wished to be handsome like a flamingo, smart like a fox, and funny like a seal. But with each transformation in size, shape, and color, the chameleon learns that maybe being yourself is best of all! The Mixed-Up Chameleon is sure to delight little readers with its interactive art, funny antics, and heartwarming message.

  3. Tortoise And The Scare - Help Nancy and her friends find a missing tortoise in the eleventh book in the interactive Nancy Drew Clue Book mystery series. Nancy, Bess, and George have been looking forward to their school trip to the Wildlife Refuge for weeks. They’ve been studying all the different animals they’ll see there—pygmy hedgehogs, scarlet macaws, and ball pythons. Nancy is most excited to see the sixty-year-old tortoise—that hard-shelled creature is older than her dad. But when her class reaches the enclosure they find out the tortoise is on the loose! Nancy and her friends are on the case. Can they save the day before the class trip is over? Or will this sneaky reptile outsmart them all?

  4. 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.

Books About The Zoo and Apes And Monkeys

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Good Night, Gorilla
Written & illustrated by Peggy Rathmann
Thoughts from Grammy
With spare text and rich illustrations, Peggy Rathman walks us through the zookeeper's bidding the animals at the zoo goodnight. There are many funny details to seek and find on each page. The clever ending contains a bit of irony; So many toddlers take a favorite stuffy to bed, why not a gorilla?
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato
What can you say about such a beloved classic? It's humorous and doesn't spell every little thing out, but provides just enough clues that my 2.5-year-old was able to piece together what was happening. As we've read it several times over, he enjoys pointing out how the gorilla is going to help the other animals from their cages.
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.

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The One and Only Ivan
Written by Katherine Applegate & 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!

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The Opposite Zoo
Written & illustrated by Il Sung Na
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

From the creator of A Book of Sleep and A Book of Babies comes a beautiful new book of animals—and opposites!

The sky is dark and the Opposite Zoo is CLOSED. But the monkey’s cage is OPEN! Time to explore. . .

Follow the monkey as he visits all the animals in the zoo: fast and slow, big and small, noisy and quiet, soft and prickly! Filled with energetic illustrations, friendly animals, and a simple text, The Opposite Zoo is a fun and lively introduction to animals and opposites.

Praise for Il Sung Na:

“Il Sung Na’s illustrative art is so joyous, so jubilantly colorful, it feels celebratory and poetic even when the story is simple and spare.” —The Boston Globe (A Book of Babies)

“[A] grand read-aloud.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred (Welcome Home, Bear)

“It’s the rare picture book that, upon arrival, feels as though it has been around for years already; Na’s belongs to this group.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred (A Book of Sleep)

“Vibrant [and] whimsical.” —School Library Journal, Starred (Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit)

Honorable Mentions
The Opposite Zoo book
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The Wild Field Trip book
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Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla book
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Ninita's Big World book
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  1. The Opposite Zoo - From the creator of A Book of Sleep and A Book of Babies comes a beautiful new book of animals—and opposites! The sky is dark and the Opposite Zoo is CLOSED. But the monkey’s cage is OPEN! Time to explore. . . Follow the monkey as he visits all the animals in the zoo: fast and slow, big and small, noisy and quiet, soft and prickly! Filled with energetic illustrations, friendly animals, and a clear, simple text—all wrapped up in a gorgeous package—The Opposite Zoo is a fun and lively introduction to animals and opposites for the youngest picture-book audience. “Na brings fresh energy to the familiar. With a coloring style that feels as if someone took a firecracker to a box of crayons, Na makes turtle shells as dynamic as a peacock’s plumage.” —The New York Times Book Review

  2. The Wild Field Trip - While on a school field trip to the zoo, Harry accidentally allows the monkeys to escape their habitat, and he thinks he can fix the mess using one of his superhero inventions.

  3. Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla - 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.

  4. 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! “

Books About The Zoo and Family

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1, 2 at the Zoo
Written & illustrated by Sue DiCicco
Thoughts from Mom of Boys
This is a fun book. My boys really love reading it. It is so simple and repeats the counting of 1 to 2 as it shows different animals and things at the zoo.
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Teaches how to count to two using zoo animals, including penguins, giraffes, and elephants. On board pages.

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The Wolf Keepers
Written & illustrated by Elise Broach
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-14

A thrilling middle-grade historical mystery set in Yosemite National Park from the New York Times-bestselling author of Masterpiece Twelve-year-old Lizzie Durango and her dad have always had a zoo to call their home. Lizzie spends her days watching the animals and taking note of their various behaviors. Though the zoo makes for a unique home, it’s a hard place for Lizzie to make lasting friends. But all this changes one afternoon when she finds Tyler Briggs, a runaway who has secretly made the zoo his makeshift home. The two become friends and, just as quickly, stumble into a covert investigation involving the zoo wolves who are suddenly dying. Little do they know, this mystery will draw them into a high-stakes historical adventure involving the legend of John Muir as they try to navigate safely while lost in Yosemite National Park. A Christy Ottaviano Book Praise for The Wolf Keepers: A Junior Library Guild Selection A Green Earth Book Award Nominee “Broach’s intrepid protagonists engage in sleuthing expeditions?moments Ratteree captures in evocative pencil illustrations of human interactions with the natural world. . . A gratifying, thought-provoking tale.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review “Despite the fast pace of [this] adventure?which climaxes in a harrowing 48 hours alone together at Yosemite?the text includes plenty of philosophical questions about animal rights and relationships of all kinds. Tyler’s wry comments about his race add further dimensions to a thoughtful, well-told tale, as do the pencil drawings. John Muir’s spirit hums along under a well-developed plot with likable characters.” —Kirkus Reviews “Part friendship story, part mystery, and part survival adventure, this engaging book makes the most of its two unusual settings. Fans of Broach’s Superstition Mountain trilogy will want to try her latest, with its western locale and intriguing jacket illustration.” —Booklist “One of Broach’s strengths . . . is creating child characters who are intelligent, resourceful, and willing to take action. . . . The wry humor of Lizzie’s keen observations of the human animals at the zoo and the page-turning adventure give this novel solid middle-grade appeal.” —The Horn Book “‘[Broach] reveals the characters deftly. . .The historical threads are authentic and clarified in an author’s note that provides young readers and writers with a sense of the research that goes into a well-crafted story with real figures and historical events. Give it to readers who enjoy a good mystery or love to read about animals. They will wolf down all three hundred-plus pages.” —VOYA

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Baby's First Bank Heist
Written by Jim Whalley & illustrated by Stephen Collins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Move over, Bonnie and Clyde, because there’s a new criminal mastermind in town . . . Baby Frank! Baby Frank is dangerously cute, and he’s about to pull off the most daring baby bank heist ever. Why? His parents say that he can’t have a pet—“pets are for older kids,” “be happy with your teddy,” and “they cost too much to keep,” they say. What’s a baby to do . . . ? Rob a bank, of course! You have been warned . . . With eye-catching illustrations from Guardian cartoonist Stephen Collins, this laugh-out-loud rhyming text is Boss Baby meets Mission Impossible.

Honorable Mentions
And Tango Makes Three book
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My Dad at the Zoo book
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Anna, Banana, and Monkey in the Middle  book
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When Grandad Was a Penguin book
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  1. And Tango Makes Three - The heartwarming true story of two penguins who create a nontraditional family is now available in a sturdy board book edition. At the penguin house at the Central Park Zoo, two penguins named Roy and Silo were a little bit different from the others. But their desire for a family was the same. And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.

  2. My Dad at the Zoo - A wild romp of a sequel to “My Dad is Big & Strong, But . . ., “which shows how wild dads can be.”

  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. When Grandad Was a Penguin - Last time I went to see Grandad, he seemed a little different. What do you do when your Grandad starts acting VERY much like a penguin? Find out in this brilliantly funny and heartwarming story from talented author and illustrator, Morag Hood. Boys and girls alike will love the witty, sweet and brilliantly surreal depiction of everyday settings and situations in this fish-out-of-water story with a difference. When Grandad was a Penguin is perfect for sharing with children (and grandads) young and old. Morag Hood’s artwork is gorgeously bold and stylish and her illustrative talent and keen eye for design won her a place as runner up in The Macmillan Prize for Illustration.

Want to see books about family?

Books About The Zoo and Imagination And Play

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The Way to the Zoo
Written & illustrated by John Burningham
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Discovering a magical door in her bedroom that leads her to the zoo, a little girl is tempted to bring just one little bear back to her room, and then a menagerie of smaller animals, and then an irresistible medley of big animals, until pandemonium ensues.

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Sloth Slept on
Written & 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!

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Can One Balloon Make an Elephant Fly?
Written by Dan Richards & illustrated by Jeff Newman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Dan Richards teams up with celebrated artist, Jeff Newman, to share a funny and vibrant picture book about how powerful a child’s imagination can be…with a little encouragement.

Evan asks a simple question, “Can one balloon make an elephant fly?”

At first, his mother is too busy to answer. But when she takes the time to play the game with her son…magic happens.

Honorable Mentions
One Night in the Zoo book
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The Flops book
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Penguinaut! book
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Amadou's Zoo book
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  1. One Night in the Zoo - It’s only when all the visitors have gone home that the real fun starts in the zoo! Enjoy counting the wide variety of animals as you follow them through the night, and find out what mischief they get into. A summary showing each animal in the book in number order supports children in recapping what they have read. Lime/Band 11 books have longer sentence structures and a greater use of literary language. Ideas for reading at the back of the book provide practical support and stimulating activities.

  2. The Flops - A cryptozoological kids book that not only introduces the scientific method but also emphasizes the importance of imagination and play. A book full of advice about how not to make a flop’s life hard! What is a flop? A flop is malleable, can’t make a telephone call on its own, can’t wear a collar, and many other things besides. There are also hundreds of different sorts of flops. In a humorous, pseudo-scientific guide, Delphine Durand creates a world teeming with flops, describing their characteristics and lifestyles with great humor and precision.

  3. Penguinaut! - Orville lives at the zoo, surrounded by animal pals who go on exciting adventures. A hang gliding rhino! A deep-sea diving giraffe! Orville struggles to keep up, until one day he concocts an adventure all his own: build a spaceship and fly to the moon all by himself. Can one tiny penguin get there alone? Penguinaut is perfect for every child who’s said, “I can do it myself!” and comes to find that the rewards are much richer when shared with friends. Marcie Colleen’s playful text and Emma Yarlett’s charming, whimsical illustrations are sure to delight both children and their parents.

  4. Amadou's Zoo - Amadou has waited…and waited…and WAITED for his class trip to the zoo. But when they arrive, his teacher would rather talk about rules and facts. So, Amadou eagerly explores the zoo in his own special way―by allowing his imagination to lead. As more and more classmates follow him into his irresistible world of adventure, the sepia-toned zoo fills with vibrant color. Only one question remains―will Amadou’s teacher follow, too? At once an ode to childlike wonder and patient teachers, Amadou’s Zoo encourages the child and adult reader alike to find connections with the world around them. Based on her own observations at the Ménagerie in Paris, Rebecca Walsh has delicately captured the feel of both an old-fashioned zoo and the modern, diverse class trip taking place within it.

Books About The Zoo and Friendship

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A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Written by Philip C. Stead & illustrated by Erin E. Stead
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

THE BEST SICK DAY EVER and the animals in the zoo feature in this striking picture book debut. Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor. A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children’s Book of the Year and the winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal. This title has Common Core connections.

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The Secret Zoo
Written by Bryan Chick
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

Something strange is happening at the Clarksville City Zoo. Late at night, monkeys are scaling the walls and searching the neighborhood— but what are they looking for? Noah, his sister Megan, and their best friends, Richie and Ella, live next door to the zoo. Megan is the first to notice the puzzling behavior of some of the animals. One day Megan disappears, and her brother and their friends realize it’s up to them to find her. Their only choice is to follow a series of clues and sneak into the zoo. But once inside, will they discover there’s much more to the Clarksville City Zoo than they could ever have guessed?

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Penguin Cha-Cha
Written & illustrated by Kristi Valiant
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Penguins are dancing in their cove, and a young girl is determined to join in the fun.

Honorable Mentions
Sealed with a Kiss book
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The One and Only Bob book
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See You Later, Alligator book
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The Explorers: The Door in the Alley book
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  1. Sealed with a Kiss - What’s a seal to do when she’s new to the zoo? Make new friends, of course! But when the other animals aren’t so friendly, a wise sparrow inspires them to surprise Seal with a special treat. Full of heart and humor, this story of friendship and forgiveness from bestselling author Beth Ferry and illustrator Olivier Tallec will have little ones giggling along, and it makes for a fun Valentine’s Day gift!

  2. The One and Only Bob - Return to the unforgettable world of the Newbery Medal-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling novel The One and Only Ivan (soon to be a major motion picture!) in this incredible sequel, starring Ivan’s friend Bob! Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family. Bob, Ivan, and Ruby have touched the hearts of millions of readers, and their story isn’t over yet. Catch up with these beloved friends before the star-studded film adaptation of The One and Only Ivan hits theaters in August 2020!

  3. See You Later, Alligator - A departing tortoise has his bags packed and is almost ready to set out on an adventure, but he can’t leave until he says good-bye to each of his animal friends. The tortoise stops for every last timid mouse and bumblebee, shouting his rhyming good-byes, making you wonder if, perhaps, he’s stalling the start of his trip. His animal friends appear startled as he suddenly pops up on each page to say adieu—especially the perplexed rhinoceros the tortoise mistakes for a unicorn! With each farewell, the tortoise’s good-byes get sillier and more creative. When will the good-byes end and the adventure begin? See You Later, Alligator is a silly story with bright, engaging illustrations and expressive, rhyming text that children will want to read—and giggle through—again and again. Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

  4. The Explorers: The Door in the Alley - This is one of those stories that start with a pig in a teeny hat. It’s not the one you’re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.) This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and there is a girl looking for help that only uninquisitive boys can offer. The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is the first book in a series that is sure to hit young readers right in the funny bone

Books About The Zoo and Baby Animals

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1-2-3 ZooBorns!
Written by Andrew Bleiman & illustrated by Chris Eastland and Andrew Bleiman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-8

Count and cuddle with a whole new herd of zoo babies in this number-filled picture book from the creators of ZooBorns.com. Attention, animal lovers! It’s time to count along with a whole new crew of adorable zoo babies. Featuring irresistible animal photos, bouncy text, and a fact-filled glossary, this just might be the cutest counting book ever to hit the shelves!

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Zoo Babies
Written & illustrated by Andrews McMeel Publishing
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

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At The Zoo
Written by Clever Publishing & illustrated by Svetlana Shendrik
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

With panoramic illustrations on each spread and appealing recurring characters, our classic Look & Find format is now available to the youngest readers. These imaginative books welcome curious toddlers to experience adventures in familiar places - the park, the zoo, and the city. Short texts with stimulating questions are expertly designed for young readers, making this series a great introduction to animals, objects, situations, and everyday events. The colorful illustrations are large enough for a curious toddler to find. Kids will find 4 hidden objects on each spread and learn many new words. The format is the perfect size for toddlers!

Honorable Mentions
Owls are Good at Keeping Secrets: An Unusual Alphabet book
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Snuggle Up, ZooBorns! book
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ZigZag ZooBorns! book
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  1. 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.

  2. Snuggle Up, ZooBorns! - Cozy up with this cuddly Level 1 Ready-to-Read about baby zoo animals that’s perfect for emerging readers! What do koala bears, panda bears, sea otters, snow leopards, and people have in common? They all love to snuggle! Nestle up with your little ones and the ZooBorn babies in this sweet Level 1 Ready-to-Read that’s perfect for even the youngest animal lover!

  3. ZigZag ZooBorns! - Get to know a whole new herd of zoo babies in this darling picture book about colors and patterns from the creators of ZooBorns.com. Calling all animal enthusiasts! It’s time to learn about colors and patterns with a crew of irresistible zoo babies. Featuring adorable animal photos, zippy text, and a fact-filled glossary, this just might be the cutest concept book ever to hit the shelves!

Epilogue

11 books that are just too good to leave off of our the zoo list.
A Thief at the National Zoo book
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Put Me in the Zoo book
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Animal Strike at the Zoo. It's True! book
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The View At The Zoo book
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  1. A Thief at the National Zoo - KC and Marshall investigate the theft of a precious emerald, brought by representatives of the Chinese government to bring luck to two baby tigers born at the National Zoo.

  2. Put Me in the Zoo - Spot believes he deserves to be in the zoo with the other amazing animals. In this Beginner Book edited by Dr. Seuss, Spot shows two young friends all the exciting things he can do with his spots. From changing their color and juggling them to moving them onto everything around him, you won’t believe what Spot can do. Beginning readers will be delighted by Robert Lopshire’s lively tale that proves there is a special spot for everyone. Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning.

  3. Animal Strike at the Zoo. It's True! - There’s an animal strike at the zoo! oh no, oh my! What’s a zookeeper to do when the lions and tigers and bears refuse to roar and prowl and growl? And when little Sue, who has been waiting all year for this trip to the zoo, enters the gate, will the animals decide to give their strike a break? Karma Wilson’s fun, playful text paired with Margaret Spengler’s bright and lively pastels create an unforgettable, irresistible zoo of chaos and fun!

  4. The View At The Zoo - A new format for this humorous twist on a visit to the zoo, just who has the more interesting view? As morning dawns, the zookeeper makes his rounds, exhorting the animals to wake up, comb their hair, and stand up straight. Soon their human visitors arrive, and the observations begin to flow: My, what silly things they do, all these creatures at the zoo. Walking on all kinds of feet, dancing to an inner beat. Babies riding on their backs, on their bellies, snug in sacks. Hear the silly sounds they speak, as they howl and squawk and shriek! But just who is talking about whom? With a clever twist of text and bright and festive illustrations, this picture book will have children begging for a trip to the zoo. Ages 4-8.

Boo at the Zoo book
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Old Macdonald Had A... Zoo? book
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Construction Zoo book
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Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles book
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  1. Boo at the Zoo - Get ready for a costume party at the zoo with this Halloween lift-the-flap adventure featuring your favorite animals all dressed up to trick-or-treat! Welcome to BOO AT THE ZOO! Where the animals wear Halloween costumes, too! It’s Halloween at the zoo, and the animals don’t know what to wear! Lift the flaps to discover costume tricks and treats that lead to a big BOO AT THE ZOO! From Giraffenstein to Flaminghosts to Vamtigers and more, little ones will love lifting the sturdy flaps to reveal the silly Halloween costumes hidden underneath.

  2. Old Macdonald Had A... Zoo? - An extended retelling of the classic children’s song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” by beloved author/illustrator Iza Trapani featuring zoo animals running amok on the farmstead. Iza Trapani is known for her clever twists on classic nursery rhymes. This time she outdoes herself with a vist to longtime favorite Old MacDonald. His busy little farm–with a moo, moo here and a moo, moo there is out of controwhen zoo animals like kangaroos, elephants, and hippos join the menagerie. What’s a farmer to do? Iza Trapani’s hilarious, jam-packed illustrations are full of details animal-loving readers will point at with glee. And the sweet ending will keep them giggling until the next reading.

  3. Construction Zoo - It’s a quiet morning at the zoo, until some strange new creatures roll in—trucks and bulldozers and wrecking balls! They’re tumbling, digging, and roaring alongside the animals. Giraffe, rhino, the monkeys, and the tigers watch the new creatures and, soon, are playing with their new friends. It’s party time at the Construction Zoo! But…what happens when the construction is over? Will the party be over, too? The clever rhyming text and simple, bold art will appeal to both kids and their parents.

  4. Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor: The Woman Who Loved Reptiles - Back in the days of long skirts and afternoon teas, young Joan Procter entertained the most unusual party guests: slithery and scaly ones, who turned over teacups and crawled past the crumpets…. While other girls played with dolls, Joan preferred the company of reptiles. She carried her favorite lizard with her everywhere—she even brought a crocodile to school! When Joan grew older, she became the Curator of Reptiles at the British Museum. She went on to design the Reptile House at the London Zoo, including a home for the rumored-to-be-vicious komodo dragons. There, just like when she was a little girl, Joan hosted children’s tea parties—with her komodo dragon as the guest of honor.

Xander's Panda Party book
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Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh book
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Peek-a-boo at the Zoo book
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  1. Xander's Panda Party - Xander’s plan to host a panda party falls through, since he is the only panda at the zoo, but when he extends the invitation to all the bears, complications ensue. Includes an author’s note about the international effort to save pandas from extinction. 40,000 first printing.

  2. Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh - Who could care for a bear? When Harry Colebourn saw a baby bear for sale at the train station, he knew he could care for it. Harry was a veterinarian. But he was also a soldier in training for World War I. Harry named the bear Winnie, short for Winnipeg, his company’s home town, and he brought her along to the training camp in England. Winnie followed Harry everywhere and slept under his cot every night. Before long, she became the regiment’s much-loved mascot. But who could care for the bear when Harry had to go to the battleground in France? Harry found just the right place for Winnie while he was away — the London Zoo. There a little boy named Christopher Robin came along and played with Winnie — he could care for this bear too! Sally Walker’s heartwarming story, paired with Jonathan Voss’s evocative illustrations, brings to life the story of the real bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh.

  3. Peek-a-boo at the Zoo - Peek-a-boo is Baby’s favorite game, and what better place to play than at the zoo? From silly monkeys to trumpeting elephants, Daddy and Baby meet all kinds of animals. With beautiful, full-color illustrations by Claudia Tenorio-Pearl, this book by second-time author Kimberly Dixon is a fun way for children to learn about different types of animals and the sounds they make.

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