A visit to the zoo can be full of so many fun adventures and learning opportunities. Kids can not only learn about the animals, but also the importance of protecting these animals and their habitats. This list of children’s books about the zoo embrace the wonder and joy of a day spent with the animals. You can also explore zoo animal pictures through real life example zoo books.
If you are planning a day at the zoo, doing a zoo theme in preschool or are working through our fun zoo animal activities pack, I definitely recommend adding some books too your preschool theme activities. Books always enhance learning and are a great way to tie further learning into a theme. I have included a list below of some of my favorite zoo animal books. You can also get the zoo animals activities pack here.
These board books are the perfect zoo books for toddlers.
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book was written and illustrated by Rod Campbell. This lift the flap book starts with a request to the zoo asking for a pet. The zoo sends all kinds of fun zoo animals, but the narrator finds something wrong with each and sends them back. Little ones will love lifting the flaps and finding the cute animals hiding inside.
Good Night, Gorilla was written and illustrated by Peggy Rathmann. It’s bedtime at the zoo, but instead of going to bed, the gorilla manages to swipe the zookeeper’s keys and escape from his cage. Kids will love watching the gorilla follow behind the zookeeper as he does his final walk through around the zoo.
Good Night Zoo (Good Night Our World) was written by Adam Gamble and illustrated by Cooper Kelly. This entry in the Good Night Our World series takes readers on a stroll around the zoo, greeting all the animals they encounter. The story starts by saying good morning, and eventually winds down to a peaceful good night. This is a great one for settling little ones in at bedtime.
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo: A Counting Book was written and illustrated by Eric Carle. This counting book features a variety of happy zoo animals as they gather on a train. Each turn of the page introduces a new animal and number. The illustrations are done in Carle’s sigature style, using bright colors to grab the reader’s attention.
My Heart Is Like a Zoo Board Book was written and illustrated by Michael Hall. This adorable book features a sweet rhyming text and creative illustrations to introduce kids to various animals, while also discussing the many emotions a heart can feel. Each animal is creatively constructed from various heart shapes.
Zoo Animals was written and illustrated by Brian Wildsmith. Each page of this informative board book features a different zoo animal and some interesting facts about them. The realistic illustrations are full of details, and each page clearly labels the animal pictured.
Color Zoo was written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert. This brightly colored board book offers a fun introduction to animals, shapes and colors. As readers flip the pages, the creative die cut illustrations highlight different shapes as they create an animal picture.
Peek-A-Zoo! was written by Nina Laden. This fun follow up to the popular book Peek-a-Who? encourages the reader to guess each zoo animal staring through the die cut windows before turning the page and unveiling the animal underneath.
Put Me in the Zoo was written and illustrated by Robert Lopshire. This fun book follows an animal named Spot who wants to live in the zoo. But when the zoo won’t let him stay, he shows two young kids all of the fun things that he can do with his spots. This silly rhyming story is accompanied by fun over-the-top illustrations that kids will love.
The picture books below would make lovely zoo books for preschoolers.
If I Ran the Zoo (Classic Seuss) was written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss. This classic story follows a young boy named Gerald McGrew as he shares all of the things that he would do differently if he ran the zoo. The funny rhyming story is accompanied by fairly simple illustrations that use color sparingly.
Zoo Zen: A Yoga Story for Kids was written by Kristen Fischer and illustrated by Susi Schaefer. This sweet yoga story follows a little girl named Lyla as she learns new yoga poses from her zoo animal friends. The illustrations are striking, and offer helpful tips for kids to try the poses.
Wild About Books was written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Marc Brown. This hilarious tale imagines what happens when a wayward librarian takes her bookmobile to the local zoo. The entertaining rhyming text is accompanied by vivid and detailed illustrations of zoo animals reading and enjoying story time.
Zoo was written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons. This informative book introduces readers to all of the work that zookeepers do at the zoo. From the early morning hours before guests arrive, to the final walk through at night, the easy to understand text and friendly illustrations touch on all the work that goes on behind the gates.
My Visit to the Zoo was written and illustrated by Aliki. This book follows two young kids as they visit the zoo and learn about all kinds of animals. The descriptive text shares lots of fun information about the animals, and additional facts are hidden throughout the book as well. The illustrations are lush and realistic, showing lots of details about the beautiful animals.
‘Twas the Day Before Zoo Day was written by Catherine Ipcizade and illustrated by Ben Hodson. This spin on the classic Christmas poem follows a group of zookeepers as they prepare the grounds for Zoo Day. The rhyming text fits in lots of animal facts, and the colorful cartoon style illustrations show the animals with friendly faces.
Z Is for Zookeeper: A Zoo Alphabet (Science Alphabet) was written by Roland Smith and Marie Smith and illustrated by Henry Cole. This educational alphabet book uses a fun rhyming text and colorful illustrations to introduce readers to life at the zoo. Each letter represents a different part of a zookeeper’s day, and the sidebars of each page include more detailed information about the vocabulary and topics featured.
Curious George Goes To The Zoo was written by Cynthia Platt and illustrated by Mary O’Keefe Young. In this addition to the Curious George series, the popular and mischievous little monkey goes on a trip to the zoo. The funny story is full of silly moments, and the illustrations are done in the comforting and simple style of the original books.
Animal Strike at the Zoo. It’s True! was written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Margaret Spengler. In this silly story, the animals at the zoo decide to go on strike. They come up with all kinds of entertaining demands for the zookeeper. Kids will love laughing at the hilarious and imaginative illustrations of the animals.
What the Sleepy Animals Do at the Audubon Zoo was written by Grace Millsaps and Ryan Murphy and illustrated by John Clarke IV and Alyson Kilday. In this creative story, a young girl’s father concocts a fantastical tale to answer her question about why the zoo animals are so sleepy. The corresponding illustrations are vibrant and full of adorable cartoon style animals.
River Rose and the Magical Lullaby was written by Kelly Clarkson and illustrated by Laura Hughes. In this entertaining bedtime story, a young girl named River Rose is visited by a bunch of magical balloons and takes them for a wild overnight adventure to the zoo. The peppy rhyming text and playful illustrations show River Rose and her dog having all kinds of silly fun with the zoo animals.
I hope you enjoyed this list of zoo animal books. Do you have any favorite zoo books to add to our list?