Books About Wild Animals

There are more than 2 million types of animals on Earth! Each one is unique and plays an important role in the world’s ecosystem. With the books on this list, you can learn more about your children’s favorite animals and discover a few new favorites, too. Children will laugh out loud at the storybooks and ask lots of questions while reading the nonfiction books. Reading is a great way to teach your children about the world around them and show them how making positive changes can help the animals that call this planet home.

Wild Animals Atlas National Geographic Kids

This book combines geography and science as it gives kids a global perspective on wild animals. Every page is filled with kid-friendly maps, animal photography from National Geographic, and short snippets of text that present exciting details about each creature. Lots of favorites like elephants and polars bears are included, but some lesser known animals are featured too. Look for the turkey vulture, the American bison, the yellow-footed tortoise, and more! Preschoolers will love to page through this book and look at the images, while elementary children who can read independently will enjoy reading through it on their own.

The Secret Life of a Tiger Przemyslaw Wechterowicz

In this heartwarming story, we meet a tiger that gets a bad wrap for being scary. But he’s really not that scary at all! When the sun goes down, he has a secret life. He’s actually a very kind friend to the other jungle animals. He cooks for them, saves their eggs, makes their nests, and much more! It’s a great reminder that there’s more to people and animals than what meets the eye. Read this one with preschoolers and early elementary kids.

Inky the Octopus Erin Guendelsberger

Inky the Octopus lived at the National Aquarium of New Zealand until, one day, he made his escape to the sea! This silly picture book recounts the adventures of Inky as he follows his dream of freedom. It’s actually based on a true story—you can read the details in the final pages. There’s also a few pages dedicated to other odd octopuses and a bit of scientific information about these ocean creatures. Toddlers and elementary kids will love hearing about Inky’s courageous spirit!

Don’t Let Them Disappear: 12 Endangered Species Across the Globe Chelsea Clinton

This heartfelt picture book takes a look at 12 types of animals that are on the brink of extinction. A spread is devoted to each animal. The text of the book offers several facts about each animal, lists where they live, describes their conservation status, and tells why we are in danger of losing the animals. The sweet illustrations depict each animal in gentle colors. With fairly simple text and engaging illustrations, this book provides an easy way to introduce preschoolers and early elementary children to current threats to wild animals.

I Am a Panda Smithsonian Kids

This nonfiction book comes with a built-in puppet! Parents can use the soft panda puppet to interact with babies and toddlers throughout the book.  Each page offers a small bit of information about the panda like where it lives, what it eats, and what it does all day. With just a few pages, this book is perfect for the short attention span of young children.

Animalium Jenny Broom

As part of the Welcome to the Museum series, this large-format book offers six museum galleries to page through. Each gallery is focused on a different type of animal from invertebrates to birds and beyond. The vintage feel of this book’s illustrations makes it really unique when compared to other animal books. It also includes a discussion of evolution. This one has lots of heavy information—it’s best for upper elementary and middle school kids. However, younger kids might like to page through the illustrations.

Tacky the Penguin Helen Lester

Tacky the penguin isn’t like the other penguins. While they are graceful, he is awkward. While they are polite, he is loud. When a scary group of hunters comes to the penguins’ icy home, it’s Tacky’s odd behavior that frightens the hunters away! Tacky’s unique character adds quite a bit of humor to the book and will have kids laughing out loud! This is a lighthearted read for preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Atlas of Animal Adventures Rachel Williams and Emily Hawkins

This is another large-format book that takes kids into the habitats of some of the most amazing wild animals on Earth! One section is devoted to each continent. Within the section, a spread is devoted to each animal and habitat. The text is broken up into small snippets and offers unique facts about the animals. The illustrations are comical, inviting kids to notice all of the little details on the page. Overall, the book offers nearly 100 pages of information and illustrations. This one will appeal to preschoolers and early elementary kids.

Peaceful Like a Panda Kira Willey

Instead of learning about real wild animals, this book invites children to imagine cute, fluffy animals as a way to channel their inner mindfulness. There are six sections: Rise and Shine, Are We There Yet?, Brain Boosters, Playtime, Let’s Eat, and Good Night. Each one gives children several tangible ways to move, breathe, manage their emotions, and be present in the moment. The whimsical illustrations help kids get into a positive mood and reframe their troubles. Try these exercises with preschoolers and early elementary kids.

If You Were a Penguin Wendell and Florence Minor

This rhyming storybook offers a cute and simple story that will delight toddlers and preschoolers. It shows penguins flying through the water, floating on ice, and gobbling up their dinner. Several different types of penguins are pictured and, with the guide in the final pages of the book, you and your child can identify each one.

Endangered Animals Eyewitness Books

Use this book to guide your children through a discussion about the threats to wildlife and the species that are the most vulnerable. Kids will learn how farming, climate change, and other human actions have led to a decline in our planet’s rich biodiversity. They’ll also see how human actions in the future could go a long way in helping our animal friends grow back into full populations. Upper elementary kids can read through this one on their own, but younger children will enjoy going through it section-by-section with an adult as well.

Don’t Wake Up the Tiger Britta Teckentrup

A tiger is asleep, but she’s blocking the way of the other animals. What will they do? As you make your way through a series of interactive pages, toddlers and preschoolers will love the suspense—will the other animals wake up the tiger or not?! And, there’s an extra surprise on the last page! The story is sweet and lighthearted. Kids will ask to read it again and again!

The Fascinating Animal Book for Kids Ginjer L. Clarke

Can’t get enough animal facts? Then check out this book! It’s filled with 500 facts about all sorts of animals. Each page features full-color photographs and interesting details about mammals, amphibians, birds, and more. Elementary kids will love to page through this one and quiz you on all the facts!

A Curious Collection of Peculiar Creatures: An Illustrated Encyclopedia Sami Bayly

You won’t find any lions or elephants in this book. That’s because it’s devoted to odd, ugly, and strange creatures! In it, you’ll take a closer look at the blobfish, the star-nosed mole, the black rain frog, and several others. A spread is devoted to each creature. Along with an illustration, you’ll see what they eat, where they live, and a few fun facts. There’s also a paragraph about the conservation status of each animal. This book is a great choice for kids who love animals, mysterious things, or simply delight in the oddities of life. Read it with elementary kids.

If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! Elise Parsley

Magnolia wants to have the best show-and-tell of all time. There’s no better way to do that than to bring an alligator to school! But when she brings it to school, the alligator causes a lot of trouble. Kids will love to see all of the wacky situations the alligator gets into and how Magnolia’s teacher reacts. The illustrations fit the story and are quite funny in their own right. Read this one with elementary kids.

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