The best animal books for kids

We've collated a list of the best books guaranteed to delight the little animal lovers in your life.

From robust board books for babies and rhyming verse, to tales of conservation for older independent readers,  our edit of books for children who love animals includes something for every age and stage.

Animal books for babies and toddlers

Dear Zoo

by Rod Campbell

With its bright, bold illustrations and simple rhyming story, little ones will love lifting the flaps and finding the animals in Rod Campbell’s classic interactive children’s book, Dear Zoo. With bright, bold artwork, and a repeating text, Dear Zoo is a must for every child's bookshelf – and the thick card pages, chunky cased cover, and sturdy flaps make it perfect for small hands. Look out for Rod Campbell's Look After Us, a lift-the-flap animal book for toddlers with a positive message about conservation.

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Animal Rhymes

by Rod Campbell

Full of both classic nursery rhymes such as 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' and originals from Rod Campbell, this colourful chunky board book is full of fun rhymes to sing, flaps to lift and games to play with your little one.

Busy Farm

by Louise Forshaw

Small kids can enjoy pushing, pulling and turning tabs while learning about life on the farm, helping bale the hay and rounding up the sheep. This cheerful bright book features gentle rhyming text and wonderful illustrations. 

All About Cats 

by Axel Scheffler

Cats are sleek, and cats are slick. They read, and do arithmetic!

Cats playing piano? Cats wallowing in bubble baths with their rubber ducks? Find out what cats like to do when there are no people around. Witty and curious poems by Frantz Wittkamp translated from German, with amusing illustrations by Gruffalo artist Axel Scheffler.

Who's Hiding on the Farm

by Axel Scheffler

Lift the felt flaps to find out which animals are hiding on the farm, and help Little Chick discover where Mummy Hen is. Babies can lift the soft flaps of this lovely story created by star illustrator Axel Scheffler.

Animal books kids aged for 3 - 5 years old

Counting Creatures

by Julia Donaldson

Illustrated by Sharon King-Chai

This stunning picture book is a fun, interactive counting book with peep-through pages, fold-out flaps and bright, beautiful artwork. Little ones will love comparing the creatures, exploring their habitats and learning the proper names for all the baby animals.

Dormouse Has a Cold

by Julia Donaldson

This installment in the Tales from Acorn Wood series invites little ones to snuggle up, because Dormouse is sniffling and snuffling. She discovers that being ill can be tough, but with lots of rest at home, help from Doctor Stoat and visits from her friends she soon starts to feel better. Little hands can discover what cheers poorly dormouse up by lifting the flaps on every page.

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by Julia Donaldson

Illustrated by Sharon King-Chai

With Sharon King-Chai’s beautiful bold illustrations, peep-through pages and Julia Donaldson’s trademark rhythmic writing, this award-winning collaboration is a non-fiction children’s book to be treasured forever. Packed with facts about a huge array of animals, you’ll read Animalphabet together for years to come.

The Hospital Dog

by Julia Donaldson

Here is a dog, a Dalmatian called Dot,

Is she quite ordinary? NO, SHE’S NOT!

The Hospital Dog is a heartwarming tale by Julia Donaldson about a very special brave dog. After they have had breakfast and a sea swim, Dot and her owner Rose take the bus to the hospital. Dot cheers up the patients, and when one of them is in trouble she's ready to go to the rescue.

I am Dog

by Peter Bently

What do dogs really think? Find out for yourself with this witty rhyming tale!

I am Dog. Dog is me. I like walkies. I like tree.

I like rolls in foxy pong. Foxy pong is nice and strong!

Follow a day in the life of a cheeky dog, as it sniffs and tumbles and looks for fun. There are plenty of sticks to be fetched, ducks to chase, and cuddles to be had . . .

Captain Cat and the Treasure Map

by Sue Mongredien

Great for children who are beginning to read independently but still a story you can share together, this laugh-out-loud adventure follows ship’s cat Patch and his pirate friends as they go in search of treasure, marked on their map with a mysterious X.

Animal books for 6 - 8 year olds

Into the Jungle

Book cover for Into the Jungle

This stunning book with a foiled cover and vibrant coloured illustrations is a must for little fans of The Jungle Book. Katherine Rundell has created charming and compelling origin stories for all of the best-loved characters from this classic story, from Baloo and Shere Khan to Kaa and Bagheera. Children will love hearing stories about the early years of all their favourites.

InvestiGators: Ants in Our P.A.N.T.S.

by John Patrick Green

Down in the sewers, the alligator investigators have a brand new mission. Agent Brash is in a coma and the technicians have replaced him with RoboBrash! Mango and the robot set out to stop giant ants which are rampaging through the city. But the ants aren't the only bugs causing trouble – there are a few bugs in RoboBrash's system, and they are adding to the hilarity and chaos.

The Complete Jungle Book

Book cover for The Complete Jungle Book

The ultimate edition of Rudyard Kipling's jungle book contains all the author's favourite animal tales:  join Mowgli, Bagheera and Baloo as they adventure in the jungle. This beautifully produced volume contains an animaltastic bonus story: The Cat That Walked by Himself.

Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear

by Nguyen Thi Thu Trang

An inspiring graphic novel thriller, written by scientist and environmental activist Trang Nguyen. When Chang finds there is a bear farm near where she lives in Vietnam, she decides to save all the animals she can, by learning to be a conservationist. She becomes a volunteer at a rescue centre, then decides to release Sorya – a sun bear who is also her best friend – back into the wild . . . 

Animal books kids aged for 9 - 12 years

The Umbrella Mouse

by Anna Fargher

In 1944, young mouse Pip Hanway’s world is turned on its head when her home, James Smith & Sons umbrella shop, is hit by a bomb. Having lost her parents, Pip finds herself suddenly alone and the only way to find a new home is to join Noah’s Ark, a secret organisation of animals fighting with the resistance in France, and soon she must risk everything to save her new friends . . . 

A touching story of bravery, resistance and friendship, The Umbrella Mouse is an award-winning, heart-stopping adventure.

Escape to the River Sea

Book cover for Escape to the River Sea

It's 1946 and the war in Europe is over, but nobody has come to collect Rosa Sweetman, a young Kindertransport girl. She is stuck at Westwood, a country home in the north of England, where she found refuge seven years earlier. But then Yara Fielding arrives, taking Rosa on an adventure that leads deep into the Amazon rainforest, amongst jaguars and giant sloths and Yara's welcoming family. Has Rosa finally found somewhere she can belong?

Wild Child

by Dara McAnulty

Join brilliant young naturalist Dara McAnulty on a nature walk and experience the joy of connecting with the natural world on your multi sensory journey.

This beautiful gift book is divided into five sections: looking out of the window, venturing out into the garden, walking in the woods, investigating heathland and wandering on the river bank. Each introduces young readers to the habitat and fantastic facts about the native wildlife there, and also contains a discovery section which takes a closer look natural phenomenon such as metamorphoses and migration.