Do your kids know about nocturnal animals? Animals who sleep during the day and are active during the night? Learn more about nocturnal animals like bats, owls, foxes, and raccoons in these illuminating books about the world of the dark.
“To all of you who crawl and creep,
who buzz and chirp and hoot and peep,
who wake at dusk and throw off sleep:
Welcome to the night.”
– Joyce Sidman, “Welcome to the Night” in Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night
What’s in the Dark? Books About Nocturnal Animals
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
“Little Owl was having a wonderful night.” He watches the animals in the forest — the possum family waddling along, hedgehog sniffing a mushroom patch, skunk nibbling at berries, cricket singing, and frog croaking. Little Owl can’t imagine how daytime could be better than the wonderful nighttime. A beautiful and reassuring depiction of the world at night.
Night Animals by Gianna Marino
The animals are hiding, keeping safe from the scary stuff in the dark . . . until all the animals learn that THEY are night animals and accidentally scare two kids camping in a tent.
The Night World by Mordicai Gerstein
A boy and his cat leave their house for the dark night outside. Slowly the shadows reveal a variety of animals who are awake. Mostly black and white illustrations with flashes of colored eyes really stand out in the dim light.
Nocture: Creatures of the Night by Traer Scott
Animals at Night: A Glow-in-the-Dark Book by Anne Jankeliowitch, illustrated by Delphine Chedru
A world of animals are awake in the dark night. In fact, their eyes work better! Learn who they are, what they do, and where they go in this nonfiction picture book with a considerable amount of information. From deer in the forest to the nightjar flying in search of food, you’ll become an expert on many nocturnal animals.
Flashlight by Lizi Boyd
A beautiful wordless picture book showing a young boy exploring the woods in the dark. His flashlight illuminates plants and animals. Until the animals get the flashlight and illuminate him. Enchanting. (SEE: Reading and Writing Activities for Wordless Picture Books.)
Prickly Hedgehogs! by Jane McGuinness
The author does an incredible job at making this informational book read like a narrative story, which makes it more accessible for younger readers. Learn about hedgehogs, nocturnal animals, by following a mama hedgehog and her growing babies. I also love the use of onomatopoeia throughout the book and the incredible illustrations. Very well-done!
“He might be small but Little Hedgehog has a big appetite.Sometimes he walks a whole mile in one night . . .
sniff-sniff-sniffing for things to eat.“
Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Daylight Starlight Wildlife by Wendell Minor
Gorgeous illustrations help children walk through the day and night. You’ll learn about diurnal (daytime) and nocturnal (nighttime) animals. Each animal mentioned is listed in the back with information about their life and what they eat.
Moonlight Animals by Elizabeth Golding, illustrated by Ali Lodge
Readers, look for the hidden nocturnal animals using the enclosed cardboard flashlight! Then read facts about each one.
Dingo by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Tannya Harricks
Evocative illustrations with visible painted brush strokes initially captivated my interest. But I liked the text too– it’s both a narrative story as well as informative expository text. The story captures what a typical night looks like for this Dingo. She is nocturnal. First, she’ll leave her puppies to hunt for food. Then, returns to feed them, leaving soon to hunt again. Throughout the story, we also read facts about dingos, Australia’s wild dogs. These facts are written in a smaller, italicized text size to differentiate them.
Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce
Celebrate the crickets, the owls, the bats, and the snail in these descriptive poems! You don’t even need the illustrations for the poetic language paints such vivid images. However, there are illustrations with factual information for each subject.
Science Comics: Bats Learning to Fly by Falynn Koch
Factual information is embedded within this graphic novel about a lost little bat who observes a tour group in the desert learning about bats from a tour guide. When the little bat gets hurt, he’s taken to a wild animal hospital where he meets other kinds of bats. At the hospital, the bats lively conversations help the little brown bat learn more about bats — what they eat, how they fly, different species, echolocation, and where they live. Very well done!
In this chapter book, three animal friends — a fox, a sugar glider, and a pangolin — team up to figure out the mystery of the missing animals. They’ll need clues and help from a wombat, a jerboa, some coyotes, and bats. But they could never have guessed where the missing animals are — and what they’re doing.
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