The best children’s books about interesting animals

Janet Lawler Author Of Walrus Song
By Janet Lawler

The Books I Picked & Why

Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme

By Melissa Stewart, Steve Jenkins

Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme

Why this book?

I love how master children’s nonfiction author Melissa Stewart instantly engages readers with two rhyming lines introducing each of fourteen rain forest monkeys. Each spread, beautifully illustrated by Steve Jenkins, includes additional facts and a clever rain forest silhouette keyed to show where each species dwells (there’s room for all!). Well-organized, kid-friendly back matter offers many more facts and resources about pygmy marmosets, capuchins, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, and more from Peru’s Manú National Park. They are all different, but all can live together — a great lesson from the rainforest!


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Wombat

By Christopher Cheng, Liz Duthie

Wombat

Why this book?

I really enjoy learning about animals that I don’t see every day. When I picked up Wombat, I was hooked by the cover illustration of this adorable Australian marsupial. Then I was engaged by many interesting facts as I shared a busy day with this tunnel-digging fellow. Who wouldn’t want to read a book about a cute animal that leaves cube-shaped poop on rocks and stumps?!  Chen’s engaging text is perfectly complemented by Liz Duthie’s illustrations. 


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Animal Architects

By Amy Cherrix, Chris Sasaki

Animal Architects

Why this book?

Each spread in this memorable book offers beautiful illustrations and a feast of information for curious kids. Featured animals include prairie dogs, trapdoor spiders, satin bower birds, coral, and others. The text focuses on these species as builders—of cozy homes, traps for prey, special spots to attract mates, and more. Starting with the book title on the cover (the reader can see how it was “built” with cross-hatch lines guiding letter placement!), I was totally engaged. So much information, so well shared! I fell in love with the teeny, tiny harvest mouse.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue

By Robert Burleigh, Wendell Minor

Trapped! A Whale's Rescue

Why this book?

This nonfiction book tells an individual animal’s story in a compelling way. The author’s spare, lyrical language makes the reader truly feel this whale’s panicked efforts to free herself from discarded netting left in the ocean by fishermen. The...whale spirals sideways as spidery lines tighten around her. I had to read on! I won’t spoil it for you, but I was cheering at the end. Trapped! A Whale’s Rescue, beautifully illustrated by Wendell Minor, helps readers of all ages understand the impact of human activity on many ocean-dwelling animals. Independent readers will love the detailed back matter about the actual event, whale rescue techniques, and more humpback whale facts.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Beavers

By Gail Gibbons

Beavers

Why this book?

In a Magic-School-Bus sort of way, Gail Gibbons presents a ton of information in this book about beavers and their families. The main storyline text is supplemented by multiple “factoid” insets and side-view illustrations. The sum total is a book that matches this mammal’s personality—busy and fascinating!  We see beavers and their world, above and below the waterline of the ponds they inhabit and the streams they dam up to create them. I learned exactly how a beaver den is constructed, and what the cozy inside of one looks like (thanks to a great cross-section illustration).


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Random Book Lists