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The Zoo: Picture Books For Kids

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.

Zoo Day book
#1
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.

If I Ran the Zoo book
#2
If I Ran the Zoo
Written and 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.

The Way to the Zoo book
#3
The Way to the Zoo
Written and 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.

Put Me in the Zoo book
#4
Put Me in the Zoo
Written and illustrated by Robert Lopshire
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

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.

Animal Strike at the Zoo. It's True! book
#5
Animal Strike at the Zoo. It's True!
Written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Margaret Spengler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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!

  1. 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.

  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. 1-2-3 ZooBorns! - 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!

Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor book
#10
Joan Procter, Dragon Doctor
Written by Patricia Valdez and illustrated by Felicita Sala
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

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.

Ida, Always book
#11
Ida, Always
Written by Caron Levis and illustrated by Charles Santoso
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A polar bear grieves over the loss of his companion, based on the real-life Gus and Ida of New York's Central Park Zoo.

The Opposite Zoo book
#12
The Opposite Zoo
Written and illustrated by Il Sung Na
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

After the zoo closes, monkey slips out of his cage to explore the zoo, introducing the reader to the other animals and the idea of opposites.

One Night in the Zoo book
#13
One Night in the Zoo
Written and illustrated by Judith Kerr
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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.

Pandamonia book
#14
Pandamonia
Written by Chris Owen and illustrated by Chris Nixon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Join in the fantastic fun as one grumpy panda sets off a frenzy of wild partying. There’s grunting and growling and prancing and prowling, skipping and scowling and squealing and yowling, squeaking and squawking, snarling and snorting, hysterical howling and chaotic cavorting—all because of one grumpy panda.

  1. 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.

  2. What the Ladybug Heard at the Zoo - Ladybug is ready for a vacation! When she flies into the city, the last thing she expects is to run into those no-good robbers Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len. This time, the dastardly duo have their sights set on Monkey Joe, resident of the local zoo—with his help, they hope to break into the Queen’s palace! It will take all the animals, including the Queen’s famous corgis, to put an end to this royal mischief. Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks have done it again in this latest laugh-out-loud romp!

  3. Meet Miss Fancy - A charming and significant story set prior to the Civil Rights Movement about a boy who finds a way to challenge segregation laws. Frank has always been obsessed with elephants. He loves their hosepipe trunks, tree stump feet, and swish-swish tails. So when Miss Fancy, the elephant, retires from the circus and moves two blocks from his house to Avondale Park, he’s over the moon! Frank really wants to pet her. But Avondale Park is just for white people, so Frank is not allowed to see Miss Fancy. Frank is heartbroken but he doesn’t give up: instead he makes a plan! Frank writes to the City Council so his church can host a picnic in the park, and he can finally meet Miss Fancy. All of his neighbors sign the letter, but when some protest, the picnic is cancelled and Frank is heartbroken all over again. Then Miss Fancy escapes the zoo, and it’s up to Frank to find her before she gets hurt.

  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

The Wild Wombat book
#19
The Wild Wombat
Written and illustrated by Udo Weigelt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

The zoo is getting a wild wombat all the way from Australia. In no time the most outrageous rumors are spreading about this unknown creature. More and more terrifying characteristics are attributed to him, so that it's no wonder all the animals hide on his arrival at the zoo. A memorable tale that teaches kids not to believe every bit of gossip they're told, Weigelt's The Wild Wombat is a witty, enigmatic story. The strong, colorful illustrations build the anticipation wonderfully and allow the fantasy to grow to monster-like dimensions!

Sloth at the Zoom book
#20
Sloth at the Zoom
Written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Orbie
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

One day, a sloth accidentally gets delivered to the Zoom! She was supposed to be dropped off at the Zzzzzoo, a much more laid-back, slow-paced place. She had been looking forward to long, languorous naps while the sun gently warmed her belly. But at the Zoom, the zebras gallop so fast they leave their stripes in puddles. The monkeys climb so fast they forget to stop at the treetops. And the parrots fly so fast their tails draw rainbows across the sky. When the sloth tries to make friends, nobody has any time—until the sloth meets a creature who’s a little more her speed, and everyone stops to notice. This is a surprising, delightful, and funny picture book about slowing down to enjoy the little things and making time for what matters.

Snuggle Up, ZooBorns! book
#21
Snuggle Up, ZooBorns!
Written and illustrated by Chris Eastland, Andrew Bleiman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

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!

Yasmin the Zookeeper book
#22
Yasmin the Zookeeper
Written by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Yasmin's class is going on a field trip to the zoo, and Yasmin is thrilled when she is chosen to help feed the monkeys; but when she trips and spills their food both she and the monkeys are upset--until she remembers that she has fruit in her lunch bag to share with her new "friends."

Look book
#23
Look
Written and illustrated by Fiona Woodcock
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Look! It’s a book! Starring a brother and sister who go to the zoo, see kangaroos and baboons, and get to bring home balloons! Told entirely in words that contain a double o, this playful story is a great choice for emerging readers. Bright illustrations and an engaging, interactive text will invite repeated readings. Hooray! A brother and sister can’t wait to go to the zoo, where they have an exciting day ahead full of food, balloons, baboons, and so much more. This playful concept-and-story book is ideal for new readers. Author-illustrator Fiona Woodcock’s spare text uses only words containing double o’s, an important concept for early literacy. Each word is cleverly woven into stunning illustrations. And it all ends with a bedtime book, of course. Good night!

  1. Zzzookeeper - After the zookeeper goes to bed for the night, her animals decide it's the perfect time for a party! Lions and alligators, penguins and giraffes, creatures from all habitats sneak out for some late-night mischief. But when the party starts to get a little too wild, will the animals be caught in their tracks? Bouncy, rhyming, and filled with silly animal fun, Zzzookeeper is sure to become a new bedtime favorite.

  2. 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!

  3. A Moose That Says Moo - From jump-roping skunks to book-reading sharks, the animals in this girl's make-believe zoo will do whatever she wants. Messing with nature is fun at first, until we see how hilariously wrong things go. Oinking otters! Picketing ground hogs! Stage-crashing pigs! What could be next? With deadpan text and eye-popping art, this raucous picture book A Moose That Says Moo builds gleefully to a riot of craziness that brings the whole fantasy tumbling down—in a comedic warning against imaginary menageries that kids will find hilarious.

  4. This Zoo Is Not for You - When a platypus stops by the zoo one day, all the animals assume he wants to join their zoo, and he is swiftly taken through a rigorous interview process. But the platypus is far too bland for the chameleons, he's not nearly graceful enough for the flamingos, and his tricks will never impress the monkeys. After he leaves, the animals soon regret their behavior, but . . . what's this? The platypus has left something behind. Perhaps he didn't intend to join their zoo after all! This rhyming picture book, from the award-winning creator of There's a Bear on My Chair, combines comic misunderstanding with a heartfelt story about acceptance and belonging.

Peek-a-boo at the Zoo book
#28
Peek-a-boo at the Zoo
Written and illustrated by Kimberly Dixon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-6

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.

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