Best Animal Books for Babies and Toddlers
Best Animal Books for Babies and Toddlers
December 31, 2020

Best Animal Books for Babies and Toddlers

Best Animal Books for Babies and Toddlers

Cuteness abounds in these beloved animal books. Whether they feature a sweet critter as a main character or teach children about the joys and perils of the animal kingdom, these books will inspire an appreciation for the natural world in your child.

High contrast toys and books are great for baby’s eye development in the early weeks and months, so this book is perfect for introducing animals early on and getting baby to focus on images. Pair that with the sweet greetings each animal gives, and this makes a favorite first book.

Hello, Baby Animals High-Contrast Board Book


Who doesn’t love to pet cute baby animals? With this book’s touch and feel feature, your little one gets a fun, tactile introduction to lots of new animals, from a soft kitten to a fuzzy penguin to a velvety butterfly.

Baby Touch and Feel Animals


This book is an eyeful! A big brown bear, a vivid red bird, a purple cat and a yellow duck are just a few of the creatures that cover each page, each one illustrated with vivid colors and textures. Illustrator Eric Carle and author Bill Martin produced a number of follow-ups, so if your little one adores Brown Bear, they’ll love Baby Bear, Polar Bear and Panda Bear too.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?


A lift-the-flap reading experience that keeps kids guessing and feeling their way through. “I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet,” the narrator begins. “They sent me a …” What follows is a guessing game made more exciting with folding flaps, hidden panels and touch-and-feel fields that engage kids on a tactile level.

Dear Zoo Board Book


We love the BabyLit series for teaching all kinds of basics like colors, counting, anatomy and more. Naturally, this tiny version of The Jungle Book teaches jungle animals, so you can get your little one primed for lots of tiger rawrs and elephant trumpets.

The Jungle Book: A BabyLit Animals Primer


This favorite by beloved author Sandra Boynton introduces the various sounds of the animal world and encourages kids to do the same. Little ones invariably love this activity, and it’s sure to send them into giggle fits, especially when accompanied by the illustrations of Boynton’s seriously silly signature animals.

Moo, Baa, LA LA LA


Gorgeous illustrations make this book a modern classic, steeped in Ukrainian tradition with a dash of forest animal hijinx. It’s the story of a little boy who wanted white mittens, the doting grandmother who knit them for him and the adventures that ensue when he loses the white mitten in the white snow.

The Mitten


The other bulls want to fight. Ferdinand wants to smell flowers. It’s a peace-loving message that’s charmed readers since 1936. It’s hard to think of a more lovable character than Ferdinand the Bull, whose peaceful ways put him at odds with the violent animal behavior that surrounds him.

The Story of Ferdinand


Mr. and Mrs. Mallard are looking for a place to settle in Boston, but a big city can be a difficult place to raise a duck family. As the Mallards explore the city, meet some humans and raise their eight ducklings, readers are sure to empathize with these animal neighbors, especially in the real-life emotions expressed in the classic illustrations.

Make Way for Ducklings


The tale of Babar begins in Bambi-esque tragedy, and Babar flees his home in the jungle. Quickly adapting to an elegant life in the city, he buys some spiffy new clothes and moves in with an old woman, rent free. But his enviable city life is altered when two cousin elephants come to town. Illustrated in a distinctly French style, this is not only the first Babar story, but the first picture book.

The Story of Babar the Little Elephant


Meet Elephant Gerald and Piggie, two best friends who couldn’t be more different. While Gerald is careful, contemplative and a little bit anxious, Piggie is carefree, jolly and a little rambunctious. Each story teaches something about friendship, and with 25+ books in the collection by Mo Willems, there’s an Elephant and Piggie book out there for every child.

Elephant & Piggie Books


This ballet-centric book depicts an awkward tot and her graceful flamingo friend, who learn to dance together. This wordless, interactive picture book is a story told through movement: twists, turns, flops and a splashy finale.

Flora the Flamingo


Clever rhymes and luscious illustrations make for a delightful reading experience for all ages. A little llama wanders the woods, asking his forest friends, “Is your mama a llama?” Each exchange is like a riddle, and the wordplay both engages young ears and helps build vocabulary.

Is Your Mama a Llama


In this book that’s tailor-made for sisters, three guinea pig sisters fight over clothes and accessories. For little girls growing up under the same roof, clothes envy is a real struggle. This adorable picture book makes light of these battles with funny, meme-like images of accessorized guinea pigs. The ultimate message: each sister has her own needs and her own things, but sharing is caring.

Philomena's New Glasses


Cows are funny as is, but cows with typewriters is a new level of barnyard absurdity. Especially when they begin leaving notes for the disgruntled farmer!

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type

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