Wonderful Children’s Books About Animals

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Teaching kids animals is akin to colors and numbers when they’re little. Right? We love when children can identify dogs, cats, cows, and chickens. Even better when they can make the animal noise, right?

As children grow, their interest in animals expands. Now they can learn more facts and details about animals from around the world with children’s picture and nonfiction books.

Below, you’ll find so many excellent reading choices all about animals for young readers and up to independent readers. In other words, ages 0 – 14.

If you want more specific categories and not general books about animals, look through these lists:

Amphibians & Reptiles: Amphibians & Reptiles

Birds: Beautiful Bird Books for Kids

Bugs: Best Children’s Books about Bugs (Insects, Worms, and Arachnids) 

Cats: Picture Books About Cats

Dinosaurs: Outstanding Dinosaur Books for Kids

Dogs: Picture Books About Dogs

Narwhal: Best Narwhal Books for Kids

Nocturnal Animals: 12 Books About Nocturnal Animals

Ocean Animals: 29 Books for Kids About Ocean Animals

Pets: Picture Books About Pets

Sharks: Shark Week Books for Kids


Wonderful Children’s Books About Animals

Mommy Snuggles   Mommy Snuggles page
Mommy Snuggles
by Anne Gutman and Georg Hallensleben
(ages 0 – 3)
Animal mothers take good care of their babies. “Mommy swan glides with her cygnet / under her wing.” See the animals and learn the names of the adults and babies.

illustrated by Jane Ormes
(ages 0 – 3)
What an adorable book to learn about animal families! I love the color schemes with neon orange, blues, and greens. For each animal, you’ll read what the daddy is called, the mommy is called, and then lift-the-flap under the mommy to read what the babies are called. “A daddy peafowl is called a peacock. A mommy peafowl is called a peahen. Baby peafowl are called peachicks.”  Also in this series and the same format but set on a farm is the new Noisy Crow board book called Farm.

by Hannah Salyer
Beginning with minimal text, these gorgeous, captivating illustrations show groups of animals–herds, pods, packs– animals together. As you’re invited into the book, the author presents more interesting text written from the collective we like this, “We frogs can become one noisy army…Together, we sing!

New Picture Books for Young Naturalists (2019)
Who Is Sleeping? A Lift-the-Flap Book
by Petr Horacek
(ages 0 – 3)
Introduce your babies and toddlers to sleeping animals like a bear, a frog, and a fish in their habitats like a river or a tree in this interactive board book.

Who's Hungry book
Who’s Hungry Flip the Flaps Feed the Animals
by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt
(ages 0 – 3)
Help feed the animals. On each two page spread, lift the flap to see what it is that animal wants to eat. This is a great book for toddlers who are just learning about animals and practicing their fine motor skills. The illustrations are bold and simple, as is the text. Very well done!

Contrary Creatures
Contrary Creatures
by James Weinberg
(ages 2 – 4)
What a lovely introduction to animals with simple descriptions and unique illustrations! “Some move very slowly . . . but some are fast.” You’ll find yourself with plenty to discuss. Plus, you’ll enjoy the variety of creatures and the unique dotty illustrations.

Animal Gallery
by Brian Wildsmith
Although there are many books about the nouns for collectives of animals, this book stands out for its lush illustrations. A bloat of hippopotamuses shows large, expressive hippos. Colorful parents on green and dark brown backgrounds depict a pandemonium of parrots. You’ll also find a stare of owls, a prickle of hedgehogs, and a hover of trout, just to name a few.

New Picture Books for Young Naturalists (2019)
Animals on the Go (National Geographic Kids)
(ages 2 – 5)
Full-color photos show young readers moving — slithering, hopping, sliding. I like the simple text plus bonus circle insets of info and goofy thought bubbles.

Brother, Sister, Me and You
by Mary Quattlebaum
(ages 2 – 6)
Celebrate the sibling bond among animals with gorgeous photographs that match the animal’s actions. “Guppies flash with finny flicks.”  In my experience, children prefer photographs to illustrations of animals so I know this book will be a lovely read-aloud choice for your young readers.

Who Am I?
Who Am I? A Peek-Through-Pages Book of Endangered Animals
by Tim Flach
(ages 4 – 8)
What a treat! Here’s another guess-who-I-am picture book filled with gorgeous, full-color photographs of endangered animals. The author shows readers a peek-through glimpse of an animal along with a written description. Can you guess who this animal is even without the photograph? “I have a suit of armor and a super-long tongue for slurping up insects–yum!” Turn the page to see the answer– a pangolin! (I guessed incorrectly, how did you do?)

Whose Track Is That?
by Stan Tekiela
Clues paired with a photo of animal tracks prompt readers to guess the animal who makes the track and fits the clues. Turn the page to find the answer and learn information about each North American animal like the bobcat, raccoon, and robin. Easy to read with colorful photographs, this is an appealing choice for preschool and elementary age kids.

Book of Bones
Book of Bones: 10 Record-Breaking Animals
by Gabrielle Balkan, illustrated by Sam Brewster
(ages 6 – 12)
Oversized, dramatic white on black pictures of animal bones catch your attention. Use the picture and clues to guess what animal it is. Turn the page to see the colorful picture, the answer, and more information. This fascinating book will get kids jazzed about both bones and cool animals.

The Alphabet of Peculiar Creatures
by Katie Abey
(ages 8 – 12)
Kids who like wacky and weird will adore this book of unusual creatures starting with A for Axolotol and continuing to J for Jerboa and Z for Zebu. Each page shows an illustration of the animal plus the pronunciation and a sentence or two of information about the animal. I’m loving this book! “Q is for QUOKKA (KWAH-KA) Quokkas are small, furry creatures related to kangaroos. They are about the same size as a cat, and always look like they are smiling.

Whose Footprint Is That?
by Darrin Lunde, illustrated by Kelsey Oseid
(ages 6 – 9)
There’s a lot to love about this book. The repeating question “Whose footprint is that?” gives kids a beat, a sense of what to expect. On the page of questions, readers will notice an illustrated clue (part of the animal) as well as read a written clue, “These are two footprints. They were made by hopping.” This picture and factual support are supportive young readers as they make deductions based on the clues. The entire experience of this book, the art as well as the content, makes nature exciting and appealing to young readers. Highly recommended.

Search and Spot Animals!
 by Laura Ljungkvist
(ages 4 – 8)
Ljungkvist’s picture book illustrations are simple, clean, and not too crowded. For example, on a bright yellow background, look at the purple and blue chickens to find a dozen eggs. Lovely.

Animal Ark Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures by Kwame Alexander
Animal Ark Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures
by Kwame Alexander, photos by Joel Sartore
(ages 8 – 12)
Alexander writes about each animal or animal grouping in evocative haikus with jaw-dropping photographs taken by Joel Sartore. For a dramatically angled fruit bat on a black background, Alexnder writes “wings like a cape / ready for flight / into the sweet, dark night“.

Australian Animals 
A is for Australian Animals
by Frane Lessac
(ages 8 – 12)
Gorgeous artwork showcases the animals of Australia with digestible tidbits of information about each one. Australia has some of the most interesting wildlife I think — emus and numbats, platypus and yabby. You’ll learn a lot from this picture book. Add this to your classroom library, your kids will thank you.


Learn About Animals: New Nonfiction Books for Kids 2018 
What Do They Do With All That Poo?
(ages 8 – 12)
There’s potty humor and then there are books like this — literally about poop. Depending on your tolerance for grossness, this book will probably fascinate you and your kids. We love it! Learn about the poop of different zoo animals — pandas, hippos, elephants, hyenas, bats, and more. You’ll read what’s in each animal’s poo, the shape and color, and other pertinent facts. If you’ve ever been curious about animal poop, quell your curiosity with this informative picture book.

Sweet Dreamers
by Isabelle Simler
(ages 8 – 12)
Each evocative poem captures an animal sleeping and dreaming, giving us imagery that transports us to those sleepy moments.The hedgehog dreams safely in his shelter. Under a pile of leaves,  his spiky coat, he’s rolled up, wrapped up for a long rest.” The illustrations have so much movement — neon, black, white, red, and green with lots of lines. It’s fascinating to see the humpback whale sleeping underwater “the humpback whale dreams vertically with plankton at every level.

Interesting information about adaptations like tall ears, spines, camouflage, and long sticky tongues plus gorgeous full-colored photos (that I could look at all day long) and brightly colored pages make this a nonfiction book kids are sure to pour over for hours.

DK Level 1 Jungle Animals   Parrots
DK Level 1 Jungle Animals
by Camilla Gersh
(ages 5 – 8)
In a word, perfect. This little book packs a big punch with the perfect balance of colorful visuals (photographs) and leveled, informational text. Fantastic!

What Makes a Monster?
What Makes a Monster? Discovering the World’s Scariest Creatures
by Jess Keating, illustrations by David DeGrand
(ages 6 – 12)
Keating writes in a way that gives kids lots of information in a readable, engaging way. I love the design, too –it’s a mix of photographs, illustrations, cool fonts, and bright colors. What Makes a Monster is a must-read filled with unexpected information about fascinating, dangerous animals.

Gross As A Snot Otter: The World of Weird Animals
by Jess Keating, illustrated by David DeGrand
(ages 6 – 12)
Keating’s brilliant series of weird animals continues with a book featuring the grossest animals on the planet. Colorful and appealing layouts plus photographs and illustrations add so much pizazz that you can’t help but read this book cover to cover. Well-written, engaging information about the snot otter, a salamander covered in mucus, a zombie worm who lives in a whale carcass and eats bones, and many more animals will soon make you an expert on these gross animals, too.

Boom! Bellow! Bleat! Animal Poems for Two or More Voices
by Georgia Heard, illustrated by Aaron DeWitt
This poetry book will help kids understand the beauty of words, oral reading, and imagery but they’ll also see the playfulness in poetry and discover new animal sounds they’ve never known. The poems are written in several colors. Children will choose the color of text to read (black or red, for example) starting with the poem “Animal Songs.” One reader reads the animal name written in black text. The other reads that animal’s sound written in red text. (“Kangaroos / Chortle“) The book is filled with the noise of fish, geese, frogs, mockingbirds, snakes, bees, and many more animals.

“Songsters of the Sea”
I dive
down deep
in a sapphire sea.
          I sing.
          an aria.
My watery hymn
serenades humpback whales
thousands of miles away.
         Like an echo.
          I hear a whale sing.
         my song back to me.

(This is an excerpt, not the full poem.)

This is a MUST-OWN book for teachers and school libraries, homeschoolers, and poetry-loving parents. It captures the most interesting sounds of nature. Kids will clamor to read these with parents, teachers, friends, and classmates.

Book of Flight: 10 Record-Breaking Animals with Wings
by Gabrielle Balkan, illustrated by Sam Brewster
(ages 6 – 12)
This cool, oversized picture book gives readers clues about unique flying creatures then asks readers to guess the bird using the clues and the illustration. For example, when trying to guess the fastest flyer, you’ll read that the bird migrates to Asia, swallows flying ants and bees for breakfast, and was named for the needle-like tips of its tail feathers. Turn the page to find the answer… a white-throated needletail. Even cooler, the answer has a full-color, textured illustration plus more information. The animals in this book include an emperor dragonfly, a Philippine eagle, a Madagascan flying fox, and a California flying fish.

Greatest Animal Stories
Greatest Animal Stories
chosen by Michael Morpurgo
(ages 4 – 8)
I love the entertaining stories and the artwork as well as the text to picture ratio which is absolutely perfect! Perfect for reading aloud and perfect for reading to yourself. The stories are about all animals, some from different cultural traditions; most of the stories contain a valuable lesson like “The Fox and the Crow” or explain a natural phenomenon like “How the Bear Lost His Tail“.

A Wild Child’s Guide to Endangered Animals
by Millie Marotta
(ages 8 – 12)
Any child who loves the natural world, especially the animals, will be obsessed with this oversized book. Richly illustrated in earthy tones, the author shares information about 43 endangered animals from the oceans to the forests, mountaintops to the tundra; all who need protection. You may be as surprised at some of the animals in danger including caribou and giraffes. Plus, I suspect that you’ll learn about a menagerie of new species you didn’t know about before as you pour over the pages.

Baby Animals
 (Animal Planet) by Dorothea DePrisco
(ages 7+)
Gorgeous photos and interesting facts make this one of those books you can easily flip through to find the photos and interesting facts about young animals that you want to read. Plus, the cuteness factor is off the charts!


Don't Forget to Read Nonfiction Books with Kids  
Animals on the Move
(Animal Planet) by Dorothea DePrisco
(ages 7+)
Get schooled with this fascinating book about animals. It focuses on the how and why these animals move as well as cool facts. For example, did you know the gnu moves in a zigzag pattern when in danger and kicks up a dust storm when it spars? Ultimately, this is great for reluctant and struggling readers as well as all kids who would love reading bite-sized facts about animals.

The Screaming Hairy Armadillo and 76 Other Animals with Weird, Wild Names
by Matthew Murie and Steve Murrie, illustrated by Julie Benbassat
Get ready for funny names, magical names, fierce names, delicious names, and weird names. But even better is the ANIMALS with these unusual names. Like the striped pyjama squid which is a cool-looking stripped squid. Or the yeti crab which is a crustacean with hairy arms. My favorite weird creature is the Tasseled Wobbegong! Permanent facts (species, habitat, and interesting details) are written in a text box with a well-written elaboration of about a page describing the animal’s looks, behavior, habitat, abilities, and more. Each animal has at least one illustration, sometimes more than one, and sometimes a photograph. Fantastic!

Animal Planet Animals A Visual Encyclopedia
by Animal Planet
(ages 8 – 12)
Beautiful photographs and bite-sized chunks of information showcase more than 2,500 animals from the seven major animal groups: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and arachnids, invertebrates, and fish.

Best Nonfiction Children's Books, 2016
Animal Planet Animal Atlas

(ages 6 – 12)
Extra-large pages of continents show the biomes and animals who live in each. Subsequent pages feature colorful close-up photographs of animals matched with information about the animal– where it lives, why it lives there, and what it eats. This atlas is SO colorful and well designed, any reader will be drawn to look at the photographs and read it extensively. Impressive!

The World’s Strangest Predators Top 40 Weird and Wonderful Carnivorous Critters
(ages 8 – 12)
Do you know about the weirdest predators? You might be surprised to learn that #40 on the list is the short-tailed shrew — a tiny terror with venom glands who is a predator to frogs and mice. Learn more about weird predators in this unique book that includes the Tasmanian devil, tentacled snake (so gross), pirate spider, and #1 — the honey badger! And to think, I thought honey badgers only ate honey. It does but it also will eat anything! Yikes.

I can see homeschoolers LOVING this nature book. Why? Because it is almost an interactive curriculum that contains both fascinating information as well as fun activities to do. For example, read about the bowerbird’s different types of nests, then make your favorite type of nest. I love the activity idea to camouflage yourself with clothes or face painting like a leopard after reading all about leopards. Other animals include raven, skunk, deer, octopus, bat, wolf, and honeybee. Colorful illustrations throughout.

nonfiction books for kids 2017
Two Truths and a Lie
by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Lisa K. Weber
(ages 8 – 12)
This book is GENIUS! It’s an impressive dare really for kids to read and figure out what is true and what is a lie. Who can resist their dare? The premise promises to cement knowledge of real and false because no answers are given. Readers will be reading,  thinking deeply and researching while they’re immersed in the book… The conversational tone in which this book makes the reading flow smoothly. That, plus the addition of many illustrations and photographs make this one hard-to-put-down nonfiction middle grade book.


Wonderful Children's Books About Animals (For Ages 0 - 14)


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