Want a list of the best zoo books for your students? Preschoolers can’t get enough of the zoo’s exotic animals, which are especially popular with them. They also enjoy learning about zoo animals, such as what they eat and how they make their noises!
Here are some books that are both entertaining and educational for a field trip to the zoo or a learning theme at home or in the classroom.
Books About the Zoo
Zoo-Looking by Mem Fox
Mem Fox, an award-winning children’s novelist, tells a rhyming story about a young girl and her father visiting the zoo. She enjoys staring at the animals, but she’s noticed that some of them have started staring back at her.
The View at the Zoo by Kathleen Long Bostrom
Who has the best vantage point in this lighthearted reinterpretation of a trip to the zoo?
If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo by Mary Jean Hendrick
For any problems that may arise, you can send them to my house, Leslie says one of the zoo’s keepers. The elephants and the monkeys are also on her guest list. Only Leslie’s zebra-keeper friend showed up one rainy night, and it was only then that the zoo flooded and the keeper remembers her offer.
Curious George Visits the Zoo by H. A. Rey, Margret Rey
Curious George from the children’s book series and the man with the yellow hat pay a visit to the zoo. Curious George steals a pail of bananas from the zookeeper’s hands as he is hungry. In spite of the zookeeper’s screams of displeasure, George’s intelligent and helpful tactics quickly turn the situation around.
We’re Going on a Lion Hunt by David Axtell
Going on a bear hunt with a modern twist is a wonderful story. An African lion lives there, and the two sisters head off in pursuit of him. They encounter tall grass, water, and even a large dark cave as they make their way over the African plains. Who knows what they’ll uncover out there.
Dear Zoo (Dear Zoo & Friends) by Rod Campbell
Year after year, this class favorite remains a top choice. In pursuit of the ideal pet, a little kid. Imagination games are a great way for children to learn about the world around them.
Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
This raucous good-night romp will have you laughing all the way to the end. If you’re looking for a classic must-read (or not) wordless picture book, this one is for you.
Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo by Karma Wilson
“Never, ever shout in the zoo-/because if you do-/anything can happen.” That’s how this story begins, with the narrator urging the young girl not to do so lest she “trip, drop, and cry.”
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo by Eric Carle
Carle’s odd, engaging, and original illustrations of animals will assist young children acquire basic number ideas and counting skills through a combination of simple counting and Carle.
Going to the Zoo by Tom Paxton
All young toddlers should sing this one! A visit to the zoo can’t be beat with this musical menagerie. Your kids will want to “stay all day” and come back over and over again!
Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand
This book is adored by our two-year-olds more than any other. This is a great book for a child who enjoys both trains and animals. There is a palpable buzz in the air. There are some infant animals. Trains can be found. It’s a great zoo book for kids under the age of five. While many have attempted to tell the story of this song and story, none have done so with the same level of creativity and levity as Hillenbrand.
Will Hillenbrand, a native of Ohio, has had a long and distinguished career in children’s literature. His pictures are perhaps what people remember him for the most. I’m sure you’ve seen one of his illustrations in a book at some point. His scholarly output is impressive, as is the number of books and articles he has written and published. Our favorite is the one below, which he has written and illustrated. There are so many great options!
Jafta by Hugh Lewin Find Online
To express himself, Jafta uses animals’ movements and acts as a metaphor for his own thoughts and feelings. Fans of the animal realm will swoon over this method of describing emotions. Toddlers can understand the language, but it also makes for an excellent debate starter for students in the primary school grades regarding the use of metaphors and similes. I’m a fan of the color scheme and the subject matter of this book. One of the best books to read aloud to young children.
Vampenguin by Lucy Ruth Cummins
When visiting a zoo, where do vampires tend to congregate first? The penguin house, of course, where the infant vampire and a penguin swap places. This is a zoo experience unlike any other. Read-aloud enjoyment is guaranteed with this charming tale. As the family misses the switch and the narrative doesn’t exactly fit the picture with perfect comedic impact, the visuals are where the fun truly lies. It’s a great choice for Halloween or any other time of year.
The Bear Report by Thyra Heder
This book is brimming with love, wonder, and awe. Polar bears are the subject of a report written by a young girl. Until a polar bear emerges in her living room and gives her a tour of his world, she does it fast and dismisses the matter. When I explain it, it sounds like a strange book, but it is written with such passion and care for its subject that you are enthralled by the experience.
Bruno Munari’s Zoo by Bruno Munari
Graphic designer and illustrator Bruno Munari’s zoo is incredibly original. Each page has a unique design that stands out. Initially, I wasn’t sure if our children would like the sardonic humor or unique approach to zoo illustration, but they immediately connected with something in this book and we have re-read it many times.
My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
In Michael Hall’s innovative artwork, zoo animals are depicted with hearts. We fell in love with this book long before our children were born at the San Diego Zoo, and we couldn’t be happier that they share our enthusiasm for it. The variety of creatures depicted breaks away from the usual depictions, providing new language.